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Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Making Chives Part Of Your Herb Garden

History Of Chive Plants

Chives are a member of the garlic and onion family of plants. They are the only members of that family with wild uncultivated plants growing in the old and the new world. They are native to Asia, Europe, and North America. They have a long history of culinary use. They have been used in food for at least 5,000 years. They were probably first used and cultivated as herb garden plants by the Chinese. Later on, early American settlers brought them to the new world. The word chive comes from the Latin “cepa” which means onion. The Latin word evolved to “cive” in the French language, and eventually to the English “chive.”

Although some people erroneously assume that chive plants don’t have bulbs like other members of the onion and garlic family, they are bulb-forming plants. The bulbs are very small and conical in shape, so they don’t look like other types of onion bulbs. The stems are hollow and cylindrical in shape. The plant grows a pretty purple flower with six petals, a pretty addition to any herb garden. The emergence of these flowers is a signal of spring, since it is one of the earliest flowers to appear after winter.

Growing Chive Plants

Growing this plant in a home herb garden isn’t hard. You can plant them from seed in the spring after the last frost. Plant the seeds about ½ inch deep. They prefer soil that is well drained, with a constant level of moisture and a consistent temperature of 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit. They prefer soil with ample air circulation. They need full sun. They don’t compete with other plants very well, so it is important to keep their growing area free of weeds. It’s okay to use compost that is aged. However, don’t use a lot of fertilizer, or fertilizer that contains a lot of nitrogen. Avoid mulching near the bases of the plants because this can decrease the air circulation in the soil around the plant. Chives are not prone to many plant diseases, and are not prey to many insects, so they make a welcome addition to a vegetable or herb garden.


Once the plants are 6 inches tall, the leaves can be harvested by cutting them about 2 inches above ground level, using kitchen shears. It is usually best not to cut all of the leaves at the same time. This way the leaves can be harvested repeatedly throughout the season. Regular cutting encourages the formation of new bulbs. It also prevents flowering and prevents them from becoming tough and woody.

Culinary Uses

As part of the onion family, chives have a somewhat similar flavor to onions and garlic. However, the flavor is noticeably milder, making them preferable in dishes where just a hint of flavor is wanted. They are often used to flavor potatoes, egg dishes, fish, sandwiches, sauces, dips and soups. Even though we eat them in small quantities, they are a very nutritious plant that is a good or excellent source of a large number of vitamins and minerals. If you grow them in your own herb garden, you can have fresh chives to use almost anytime.

Chivey Divey Dip

4 tablespoons sour cream (or greek yogurt)
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Pinch of salt
5 tablespoons of fresh chives finely chopped
1 ½ teaspoon grated lemon peel

Mix together sour cream, and mayonnaise. Combine with lemon juice and salt. Add chives and lemon peel. Refrigerate a few hours before serving to let flavors dissipate. Stir again before serving.

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Using Dill From Your Home Herb Garden

History and Medicinal Uses

Dill grows plentifully in the Mediterranean region and southern parts of Russia, the regions where the plant originated. It has been cultivated since at least the Neolithic period. The stems and flowers have been found in tombs from several civilizations. It has been considered a valuable plant throughout its history. This plant has a large repertoire of medicinal uses, making it a good addition to any herb garden. It is prepared as essential oils, teas, or used in the diet to contribute its medicinal benefits. It has historically been used in European, African, Arabic, Egyptian, and Chinese cultures to help with ailments such as:

  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Colic
  • Ulcers
  • Kidney problems
  • Eye disorders
  • Indigestion
  • Flatulence
  • Low Energy
  • Jaundice
  • Low milk supply in nursing mothers.

It also exhibits antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.

Garden Tips

The dill plant is a relative of coriander and fennel. It is a great plant to have in an indoor or outdoor herb garden. Growing the plant takes a little bit of attention, but it’s not hard. The plant likes loose soil and sunshine. It usually requires minimal water and once it is established, it only needs to be watered when the soil and the environment becomes very dry. It is a delicate plant, so it doesn’t withstand wind very well; keep it in sheltered but sunny spot. It doesn’t compete very well with other plants, so its growing area within your herb garden needs to be free of weeds.

The flavor is better when grown in unfertilized soil. Also, don’t grow it near fennel or coriander, since cross-pollination ruins the flavors of the dill, coriander, and fennel. It takes about 7 days to germinate. The leaves are ready to harvest and use in about 30 days, and it takes about 60 days before the seeds are ready to harvest. They are a great companion for other vegetables and herbs in the garden, as they help to repel aphids. The roots reach fairly deep, so if you want to grow it in an herb garden container, try planting a dwarf variety.

Culinary Uses

The leaves give a fresh, zesty flavor to uncooked and cooked dishes. It is used in a large variety of dishes such as:

  • Soups
  • Fish
  • Rice
  • Pickles
  • Salads
  • Cooked potatoes
  • Salsas
  • Salad dressings
  • Omelet’s
  • Many more things.

A major key to successfully using it to flavor dishes is to use it fresh and not overripe.

Flavoring potatoes with the leaves and seeds is easy and provides a subtle yet incredible flavor.

Dill Boiled Potatoes

1-2 pounds of small red potatoes
Fresh dill leaves and stems
Softened salted butter

After piercing each end of the potatoes with a fork, boil the potatoes (uncut) until they are tender in salt water with cut herb stems and leaves. (Measurements are not exact – use your own judgment) In a separate dish, mix fresh leaves with softened butter. After the potatoes are cooled slightly, they can be cut open and mashed with a fork, with the butter mixture spread throughout. *Serve while potatoes are still hot enough to melt the butter.


This is a tasty, nutritive, and beneficial herb. If you are planning an herb garden, make space for dill plants!

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Mint Is An Easy And Pleasant Addition To Your Home Herb Garden

The mint plant is one of the most often used herbs worldwide. It is valued for its rich and unique scent and taste. It also has a variety of medicinal uses. Besides being a sought-after herb, it has a colorful cultural history.

Cultivating The Mint Plant

The plant is generally easy to cultivate in an herb garden. It grows successfully where the soil is moist. The leaves of most species are fuzzy on the top side, and have jagged edges with small points around the perimeter. The plant spreads easily in sunny or partially shady locations in many climates. In order to keep it contained, it’s a good idea to surround it with a barrier that is at least 10 inches deep before planting it. This helps to prevent it from sending runners outside the area that you want to confine it to. Another option is to grow it in a container.

Mythology And History

In ancient Roman mythology, mint is said to have originated from a nymph character. Minthe was a young and beautiful nymph who became a mistress to Pluto. Pluto’s wife, Persephone became aware of Pluto’s relationship with Minthe, and turned Minthe into a ground-cover plant that would be continually trampled on. Pluto wasn’t able to undo Persephone’s spell, but he was able to put a positive twist on it: Minthe would give off a wonderful smell, which would be more powerful when the leaves were trodden upon.

This herb garden plant has a part in ancient Greek mythology as well. As the story goes, two strangers were traveling through a village. No one in the village offered them food, drink, or lodging, except an elderly couple, whose names were Baucis and Philemon. Before sitting their guests down for a meal, the hospitable couple wiped the table down with mint-scented leaves to freshen and clean it. Later, it was revealed that the two strangers were actually a Hermes and Zeus. Zeus blessed the humble home and mint has been a symbol of hospitality ever since.

Through the ages, the leaves of the plant have been valued very much. In fact, historical literature hints that it may have been used as money in some situations, or had a high trading value.

Medicinal Uses

This plant has several medicinal uses, making it an important addition to an herb garden. It is used in a tea to calm heartburn, reduce flatulence, stimulate appetite, and help with other gastrointestinal maladies. Topical compresses can also be made to reduce pain. Peppermint essential oil is a deep penetrating oil that helps to relax muscles. Because of this, it is sometimes a component of muscle relaxation oils, and has been used to combat menstrual cramps. It has also been used as a natural deterrent of rodents and some insects including fleas and mosquitoes.

Food and Aromas

Because of its strong and pleasing aroma, it is used in air fresheners, lotions, potpourris, and many other fragrant products. The flavor of mint is widely used. It is used in desserts, candies, medicines, toothpastes, gum, and much more. The leaves also give a burst of refreshing flavor in salads and other culinary pieces. With these leaves in your own herb garden, you can use them whenever you need them!

Strawberry Mint Salad

One head of butter lettuce cut up
30-40 fresh whole spearmint leaves
1 avocado cut into small chunks
1 pound fresh strawberries cut up
¾ cup toasted almond slivers
¾ cup feta cheese
Toss with or without dressing (recipe below) and serve.

Dressing (Optional)
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup fresh strawberries pureed
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
¼ cup water
2 tsp sugar
¼ tsp salt

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Discover The Flavorful Spice Thyme


Discover The Flavorful Spice Thyme

Thyme is a flavorful spice considered essential in many dishes.

A Short History Of Thyme

The first recorded use of thyme actually occurred in ancient Egypt, when thyme added its unique scent to the embalming bandages. The Romans depended on thyme to lend its unique scent to cheese and liqueurs. During the middle ages, thyme was placed in pillow and used as a sleeping aid. Supposedly, this practice would also ward off nightmares.

Thyme In The Kitchen

Thyme is used either fresh or dried. Although the fresh thyme, in the form of bunches of sprigs is most flavorful, it does not last long, tending to go off within a week. Although both stems and leaves can be used, the stems are often discarded in favor of the leaves. Dried thyme can be substituted in any recipe specifying fresh thyme, but quantities can be difficult if the amount of thyme is specified by the number of sprigs.

Recipes Using Thyme

Thyme-Rubbed Steaks with Sautéed Mushrooms


2 tsp paprika

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

½ tsp dried thyme

½ tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1 pound New York strip steaks, cut ¾ inch thick

1 package sliced fresh mushrooms (8 ounce)

¼ cup shallot – minced

2 T butter or margarine

2 T red wine

1 T vegetable oil

Salt and pepper to taste


1. Mix thyme, paprika, garlic powder, salt, onion powder and pepper in small bowl, rub mixture over both sides of steaks.

2. Using medium heat, melt butter, add shallots and simmer for one minute. Add mushrooms, continue cooking. When mushrooms are tender add red wine and simmer until the majority of the liquid has evaporated. Keep warm while frying steaks.

3. Using a separate skillet, heat oil on medium high. Fry steaks about 7 minutes per side, based on personal preference. Place on plate, let rest. Top with mushroom mixture and serve.

Chicken and Corn Chowder with Thyme


6 slices bacon, diced

1 onion, chopped

4 green onions, chopped

2 cans chicken broth (14.5 ounce)

4 cups frozen corn kernels

2 large potatoes, diced

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cubed

3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

2 cups half-and-half

Salt and pepper to taste


1. Cook bacon in large pot until crisp. Remove bacon, leaving only 3 T of drippings in pan.

2. Use bacon drippings to sauté onions. Add the potatoes and broth and simmer ten minutes.

3. Add chicken, thyme, and corn,. Cover. Simmer about 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked and the corn is tender.

4. Add half-and-half and simmer for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls, and sprinkle with the scallions and bacon. Serve.

Garden Herb Loaf


4 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons white sugar

2 packages instant yeast (0.25 ounce)

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon marjoram – dried

1 teaspoon thyme – dried

1 teaspoon rosemary – dried

¾ cup milk

½ cup water

¼ cup butter

1 egg

1 tablespoon melted butter


1. Combine 1 ½ cups flour, un-dissolved yeast, sugar, salt, and herbs in large bowl.

2. Heat milk, water, and ¼ cup butter until very warm, stir into dry ingredients. Add beaten egg and enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.

3. Using a lightly floured surface knead until smooth and elastic, about 4-6 minutes. Cover; let rise surface 10 minutes.

4. Divide dough into 3 equal parts. Roll each into a 30 inch rope. Braid ropes; pinching ends to seal. Tie knot in center of braid; wrap ends around knot, in opposite directions, and tuck under to make round loaf. Place on greased baking sheet. Cover; let rise until double.

5. Bake at 375 for about 30 to 35 minutes or until done, using foil to cover loaf during last 10 minutes of baking to prevent excess browning. Brush remaining melted butter over loaf. Sprinkle with additional herbs, if desired. Let cool on wire rack.

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For more information on growing your own thyme click here.

Oregano Uses and Recipies


Use Oregano For Authentic Italian Dishes

If your homemade pasta, spaghetti, or pizza seems to be missing that certain something, be sure to try Oregano to see if that is the missing ingredient. Oregano is not only a prominent spice for Italian-American cuisine, but is also used extensively in Turkish, Portuguese, Spanish, and Philippine dishes.

A Short History Of Oregano

Oregano has been used as a staple herb in Italian cuisine for over a hundred years. It is mostly favored in the Southern region of Italy, as the Northern region tends to depend more on marjoram. Audiences in the United States were introduced to oregano as World War II soldiers began to return from European tours. These soldiers brought with them the taste for the so-called “pizza herb”. American chefs quickly discovered that oregano could enhance the flavor of food even in the presence of other intense spices. They quickly developed combinations with other flavorful ingredients to develop variations on the modern taste of today’s Italian-American cuisine.

Other culinary uses for oregano include flavoring mutton and lamb. In Greece, oregano is used in conjunction with lemon-olive oil to provide a unique salad dressing. In the Philippines, not only is oregano used to flavor carabao (water buffalo) meat, but is added during cooking to mask the gamey odor.

Medicinal Benefits

Over 25 centuries ago, Hippocrates used oregano as an antiseptic. It was also useful as a cure for stomach and respiratory conditions. In modern times, it is still used in Greece as a soothing agent for a sore throat.

Although oregano is a powerful antioxidant, and has been show to limit microbial activity in certain strains of the pathogens found In certain types of food-borne poisoning, no proof exists of actual medical benefits. This has not stopped the use of oregano as a homeopathic remedy.

Oregano In The Kitchen

Oregano is generally available as so-called whole oregano or oregano leaves. The dried oregano is preferred over fresh because it becomes more flavorful. For use, the leaves can be sprinkled on a salad, or more often, crushed and added to other dishes. Oregano must always be added to taste because the intensity of the herb varies widely by the source.

Recipes Using Oregano

Clams Italiano


½ cup butter

5 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups dry white wine

1 tablespoon oregano – dried

1 tablespoon parsley – dried

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes – crushed (optional)

36 clams scrubbed (in shell)


1. Using a large skillet, melt butter at medium. Briefly simmer the garlic in the butter, then pour in the wine. Use oregano, red pepper flakes and parsley to season.

2. Add clams to the skillet and cover. Let clams steam until all shells have opened. Serve in bowls with broth.

Spicy Oil and Vinegar Bread Dip


1 cup extra virgin olive oil

2/3 cup aged balsamic vinegar

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 ½ tablespoons basil- dried

1 tablespoon oregano – dried

1 teaspoon thyme – dried

1 ½ teaspoons salt (kosher)

¼ teaspoon black pepper – freshly ground


1. Using a bottle that has a lid, mix the olive oil, with the balsamic vinegar, and add oregano, garlic, thyme, basil, kosher salt, and pepper. Seal bottle, and keep in refrigerator at least 8 hours or overnight. Shake well before serving. Keep refrigerated for future use.

Greek Style Pizza


½ cup mayonnaise (Preferably with Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

2 cloves garlic – chopped

½ cup feta cheese

1 pre-baked pizza crust (10-in thin style)

1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half

½ teaspoon crushed oregano leaves

2 cups baby spinach leaves

½ small red onion, slice thinly

2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese – grated


1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees

2. Sprinkle crust with onion, spinach, and feta. Bake 5 minutes to melt cheese.

3. Using a small bowl, mix olive oil with mayonnaise, garlic, oregano and Parmesan. Spread mixture on pizza crust then add tomatoes. Continue baking until tomatoes are tender, about 12 minutes.

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Using French Tarragon

French tarragon is a frequent addition to every cook’s spice cabinet and it makes its appearance on grocery shelves every year as the holiday season approaches. As well-known as this herb is, its use is often a mystery. What makes this herb so special and distinctive? How can it be used in your kitchen?

From the Garden to the Kitchen

Tarragon is a traditional Eurasian cooking herb that grows native on the European continent and in the temperate regions of Asia. It favors dry soil and sunny days and will return to the garden each year with just a little encouragement. French tarragon is the variety most frequently used in cooking though the less aromatic Russian and wild varieties may also be used but are not recommended.

Along with fresh chives, parsley, and chervil, tarragon is one of the four traditional French cooking herbs; this collection of herbs is often called fines herbes in French recipes. The aromatic, slightly sweet flavor of French tarragon goes well with the moderate to mild flavors of chicken, fish, and egg dishes. The fresh leaves can also be added to green salads. Dried, it is used in broth soups.

French Tarragon Recipes

Fresh Herb Marinade

This tangy marinade pairs the fresh taste of French tarragon with the mild bite of mustard. Stone ground or Dijon mustard works best though regular yellow mustard will work in a pinch. Try the marinade with light cuts of pork, chicken breast, or even generous cuts of tofu. Left over marinade can be added to a garden salad as a dressing.


· 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

· 2 Tbsp fresh French tarragon, chopped

· 2 Tbsp stone ground mustard

· 1 Tbsp lemon juice

· 1 clove garlic, minced

· Salt and fresh pepper to taste


1. Place all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until marinade has gained a smooth, even consistency.

2. Place two or three chicken breasts in a wide bowl or sealable plastic bag. Add marinade to the meat.

3. Let meat sit covered in the refrigerator for approximately six hours.

4. Bake chicken in oven or cook on the grill.

Creamy Herb Salad Dressing

This rich salad dressing is an exciting alternative to ranch. Use it on a tossed salad or as a dip for raw veggies. Because it mixes up so easily, it can be set out for guests to snack on or brought to a party. You’ll want to be sure to pack the chopped herbs into the measuring cups in order to get the required amount. Use fresh herbs throughout this recipe.


· 1 cup mayonnaise

· ½ cup sour cream

· ¼ cup chives, roughly chopped

· ¼ cup parsley, roughly chopped

· ¼ cup French tarragon, roughly chopped

· 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar

· 1 Tbsp lemon juice

· ½ tsp anchovy paste (optional)

· Salt and fresh pepper to taste


1. Place all fresh herbs in a food processor; pulse briefly until herbs are finely chopped.

2. Add white wine vinegar, lemon juice, and anchovy paste to the herb mixture in the food processor; pulse again to blend.

3. Add the mayonnaise, sour cream, and salt and pepper. Blend until the dressing is an even, creamy texture.

4. Dressing can be stored in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Roast Mushrooms with Tarragon

This easy vegetable side pairs well with just about any main dish. The mild taste and absorbent texture of mushrooms makes them perfect for adding bold seasonings to. Serve with dinner or as an easy addition to your brunch menu. The more pronounced flavor of cremini mushrooms is preferred though regular white mushrooms will also work.


· 1 lb. thickly cut mushrooms

· 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (set 2 Tbsp aside)

· 2 Tbsp fresh French tarragon, chopped

· 1 clove garlic, minced

· ½ tsp stone ground mustard

· 1 ½ Tbsp balsamic vinegar

· Salt and fresh pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees; place a sheet of aluminum foil on a cookie sheet (shiny side down).

2. Place sliced mushrooms in a bowl with 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Toss mushrooms to evenly coat in oil.

3. Transfer mushrooms to cookie sheet; let roast for 12 – 15 minutes, until they start to brown.

4. Place chopped tarragon, garlic, mustard, vinegar, remaining olive oil, salt, and pepper into a food processor. Pulse until all ingredients are creamed together.

5. Remove roast mushrooms from oven and transfer to a bowl. Drizzle in 1 – 2 Tbsp of tarragon sauce and toss to coat. Serve hot.

6. Remaining sauce can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a month.

**In addition to those recipes try chopped French Tarragon sprinkled on eggs and egg based dishes.

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Bringing Basil To Your Table

The bright green appearance and spicy fragrance of basil has endeared this herb to cooks for centuries. It brings a pungent, slightly spicy taste to soup, stew, stir fry, salad, and even sandwiches. Once you start cooking with basil, you’ll discover just how versatile this simple plant can be.

A Bit About Basil

Basil, sometimes called sweet basil, is a leafy green plant related to mint. It grows in long thin stems that can reach almost two feet in height. During summer, small white flowers appear on the tops of the stems. Bees and other helpful insects are often attracted to basil so gardeners favor these fragrant plants.

There are many species of basil, almost all of which are used in cooking. The oldest species are known to have grown in India; Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries have also used basil in cooking and religious rites for several centuries. Today the herb is cultivated and enjoyed on nearly every continent. Basil requires little care and can be grown indoors and out; even apartment dwellers can enjoy the taste that fresh basil brings to their cooking.

Basil Recipes

Bruschetta: A Simple Italian Appetizer

Simple flavors come together to create a magnificent traditional Italian appetizer. Serve this before your next Italian dinner or just as a snack. Roma tomatoes work best in this dish though feel free to experiment with heirloom varieties for added color and flavor.


· Crusty Italian bread, cut into slices about one inch thick

· Two pounds of tomatoes, thinly sliced

· Four cloves of garlic, finely minced

· 3 Tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped

· 3 – 5 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

· 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

· Salt and fresh ground pepper (to taste)


1. Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, shiny side down.

2. Mix together vinegar, garlic, basil, salt, and pepper; add half the amount of olive oil and mix again. Set aside.

3. Lightly toast bread in a warm oven at 250 degrees.

4. Remove bread when it starts to get a little crisp; brush bread slices with vinegar mixture and top with the chopped tomatoes. Brush any remaining olive oil on top of the tomatoes.

5. Place bread back in the oven until tomatoes get warm (about ten minutes).

6. Serve immediately.

Tomato Basil Pesto Sauce

Pesto is a zesty sauce made with loads of fresh basil. This recipe adds sun-dried tomatoes for an extra burst of flavor. Add to pasta or use as a sandwich spread.


· 6 pieces of sun-dried tomato, softened

· 2 cups fresh basil, roughly chopped

· 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

· 3 Tbsp toasted pine nuts (unsalted, if possible)

· ¼ cup olive olive

· Salt to taste


1. Place sun-dried tomatoes in a bowl of warm water. Set aside.

2. Add softened tomatoes, garlic, basil, and pine nuts into a food processor. Pulse briefly to chop the ingredients into smaller pieces.

3. Add olive oil and salt to food processor. Pulse a few more times until the mixture gains a fine, smooth consistency.

4. Pesto can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Old-Fashioned Minestrone Soup

This popular soup is the perfect way to experiment with different ingredients. Mediterranean herbs such as oregano and basil bring excitement to the dish. Fresh ground pepper deepens the vegetable broth and crushed red pepper adds a little kick. Cannellini beans are traditionally used though any white bean can be used. Use in-season fresh Italian green beans if you can find them. Lightly steam them before adding them to your soup.


· 4 cups vegetable broth

· 1 small can diced tomatoes (14 ounce)

· 1 cup minced yellow onion

· 1 cup chopped zucchini or yellow squash

· ½ cup fresh, frozen, or canned Italian green beans

· 1 stalk of celery, finely chopped

· 2 cups fresh or frozen spinach

· ¼ cup ditalini or other small pasta

· 4 – 5 cloves crushed garlic

· 1 can cannellini beans or other white bean

· 2 Tbsp fresh basil (or ½ tsp dried)

· 1 Tbsp fresh oregano (or 1 tsp dried)

· 1 Tbsp fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)

· 1 tsp salt

· ½ tsp pepper (or to taste)


1. Heat olive oil in soup pot over medium heat.

2. Add onion, garlic, spinach, celery, and green beans. Add spices as ingredients begin to soften. Lightly sauté until spinach is wilted and the onions turn translucent.

3. Add broth, canned tomatoes, zucchini, cannellini beans, and pasta.

4. Bring mixture to a bubble then reduce heat to low; simmer for approximately 20 minutes or until pasta is cooked.

5. Serve immediately. Soup can be frozen or stored in the refrigerator for around ten days.

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Cooking With Sage

Who Knew Cooking With Sage Could Be So Healthy?

It must be some ancient secret of grandmothers everywhere. Cooking with sage not only enhances the flavor of a traditional thanksgiving dinner of turkey and stuffing, but it has some amazing health benefits. Pretty sneaky, Grandma! And, it’s not just turkey and stuffing. Cooking with sage can actually bring out the flavors of nearly all meats and citrus dishes. We’re not the first to discover this, of course. Sage actually has a pretty colorful history, not just in epicurean circles either.

Where Does it Come From

There are several varieties of sage that are actually indigenous to different parts of the world. When cooking with sage though, there are usually to varieties that most people refer to: Winter Sage and Summer Sage. Most experts agree these spawned from the Mediterranean region, as the Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians all have history with the medicinal value of the herb. There is one particular variety, native to Central America, that your grandmother is probably less likely to use (unless she’s really hip and open-minded), and that’s a hallucinogenic breed. It’s usually used for spiritual practices, and not so much for cooking.

Healing Benefits

Sage has one of the longest histories of any medicinal or culinary herb out there. One of the main reasons the Romans started eating it with meat was for the herb’s ability to break down fats and help with digestion. It is also credited with enhancing memory and brain speed, if ingested. It’s also been discovered that cooking with sage can reduce the effects of menopause, relax the nervous system, ease arthritis, and bring down fevers. Topically, the herb can be used to slow or stop bleeding and clean flesh wounds.

Three More Health Benefits of Sage

o Can be used as a gargle to help cure sore throats and cough

o Used to cure kidney infections

o Can be effective against nervous headaches

Different Ways to Enjoy Sage

Sage is a delicious herb that can be used to enhance virtually any meal. While cooking with sage is a great way to enjoy it, the French are credited with also creating a sage tea that has been enjoyed all over the world. In fact, the Chinese coveted the tea so much, they used to trade four bags of Chinese tea for just one bag of the French sage tea.

Recipes to Try Today

As mentioned before, cooking with sage is epitomized with Sage Stuffing. Take a look at this internet favorite and feel free to get creative with it. This will make 8-10 servings and will only take about an hour to prepare-3 ½ hours total preparation time.

Sage Stuffing


½ cup heavy cream

1 cup turkey giblet stock

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup finely chopped celery

1 turkey liver or 3 chicken livers, trimmed and finely chopped

1 cup unsalted butter

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage

¼ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

4 cups coarsely crumbled buttermilk corn bread

8 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs

Cooking Instructions

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Spread all bread crumbs in 2 shallow baking pans and bake in upper and lower thirds of oven until dry, Cool crumbs in pans on racks, then transfer to a large bowl and stir in parsley, sage, salt, and pepper.

Melt butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat. Add onions and liver and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened. Add celery and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl with crumbs and toss well. Add eggs, stock, and cream and toss it again.

Transfer stuffing to a buttered 2 1/2- to 3-quart shallow baking dish. Bake, covered, in middle of oven for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake until browned, about 30 minutes more.

Quick Sage Rub

Ready to be the hit of the party? Next time you cook any kind of meat, try this quick and easy rub that will enhance the flavor of any meal and make it seem as though you had been slaving away for hours.


2 tablespoons of salt

1 tablespoon of dried sage

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

(that’s it!)

Combine the three ingredients and rub them on the meat of your choice. Cook to taste.

Sage is one those herbs that you would gladly eat even if it didn’t have the huge range of health benefits that it does. Incorporating it into your diet will please your taste buds, as well as your immune system.

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Cooking With Rosemary

Spice Up Your Cooking With Rosemary

When you’re looking for a way to add flavor and spice to your next dish, the rosemary herb may be just what you need. This herb originated in the Mediterranean region, cultivated by the Spanish, and is commonly grown along the coastline.

Rosemary: A Brief History

Many herbs have been used for centuries as part of folklore and tradition to signify or celebrate certain events. Prior to the 1500s, this fragrant herb was often used as part of wedding symbolism, worn as a wreath by brides to symbolize fidelity, love, friendship, and remembrance of the premarital life.

It was also often used for medicinal purposes, to cure gout and protect teeth, enhance memory and stimulate the mind, as well as provide protection from the plague in the 1600s. In addition, it has been used to spice up dishes in the kitchen for hundreds of years.

Health Benefits

This herb is packed with vitamins and minerals, whether it’s dried or fresh. Many use it because it’s an excellent source of Vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, and manganese.

Rosemary is often used to relieve or cure a variety of other maladies, including:

• Protect against cancer with anti-oxidant properties

• Having anti-fungal and anti-bacterial characteristics

• Stimulate blood circulation

• Lower blood pressure

• Relieve headaches, depression, and nervousness

A Rosemary Kitchen

As mentioned, rosemary herbs have long been used in cooking. A member of the mint family, its leaves look more like pine needles than herbs, but its pungency makes it highly compatible with stewed and roasted meats, vegetables, and more.

It can be used in its fresh form, but also dries very well (one of the only herbs that will dry well). That means you can harvest it for now or later without losing any of the flavor.

Rosemary Recipes

Roasted Leg of Lamb with Rosemary


• ¼ cup honey

• 2 Tablespoons Dijon-style mustard

• 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

• 1 teaspoon lemon zest

• 3 cloves of garlic, minced

• 5 pounds of whole leg of lamb

• 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt


1. Combine the honey, mustard, rosemary, pepper, lemon zest, and garlic in a small bowl. Mix well and apply to the lamb. Cover and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

2. Preheat oven to 450° F

3. Place lamb on a rack in a roasting pan, sprinkle with salt.

4. Bake at 450° F for 20 minutes, then lower heat to 400° F and roast for 55-60 minutes longer (meat will be medium rare). Check that the internal temperature is at least 145° F with a meat thermometer.

5. Remove from the oven and let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Rosemary and Red Potatoes


• 6 red potatoes, cleaned and cut into wedges

• 3 Tablespoons melted butter

• 3 Tablespoons olive oil

• 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

• Salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 375° F

2. Mix melted butter and oil, pour into a 9×13 inch baking dish.

3. Place potatoes in the dish, stir until coated.

4. Sprinkle with rosemary, salt, and pepper, and cover with aluminum foil.

5. Bake for 30 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

Easy Garlic and Rosemary Chicken


• 2 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless

• 2 garlic cloves, chopped or minced

• 2 Tablespoons dried rosemary

• 1 Tablespoon lemon juice

• Salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 375° F

2. Cover chicken breasts with garlic, sprinkle with rosemary, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

3. Place in 9×13 inch baking dish, bake for 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

4. Add sprigs of fresh rosemary and lemon slices for garnish, if desired.

Next time you need to add more flavor and spice to your dishes, consider cooking with rosemary. Its delicious taste and versatility make it the perfect herb to have in your kitchen.

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