Quick Recipes and Easy

Tomato Bean Pork Soup And Chicken Asparagus Salad

Tomato Bean Pork Soup

4 cups of water
1 cup of dry navy beans
1½ cups of sliced celery

1 to 1½ pounds of smoked pork hocks or one pound to 1½-pound of meaty ham bone
1/3 cup of tomato paste
1 cup of chopped onion
1½ cups of sliced celery
½ teaspoon of salt
¾ teaspoon of dried thyme, crushed
1 bay leaf ¼ teaspoon of pepper

Rinse beans. In a large saucepan combine water and beans. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat. Simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. (Or, skip boiling the water and soak beans overnight in a covered pan.) Drain and rinse beans. In the same pan combine salt, pork, tomato paste, bay leaf, 4 cups of new water, beans, onion, pepper, celery and thyme. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for about 1 hour or till the beans are tender. Remove the meat. When cool enough to handle, cut meat off the bones and coarsely chop it. Discard the bay leaf and the bones. Slightly mash beans in saucepan. Return the meat to the saucepan. Heat through.

Quick Tomato Bean Pork Soup: Prepare as above, except omit the dry beans. In a large saucepan combine salt, pork, tomato paste, bay leaf, 3 cups of water, onion, pepper, celery and thyme. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes. When cool enough to handle, cut the meat off the bones and coarsely chop it. Discard the bay leaf and the bones. Return meat to saucepan. Stir in one 15 ounce can of undrained navy or fantastic northern beans. Heat through.

Chicken Asparagus Salad

¼ cup of lemon juice
1/3 cup of olive oil or canola oil
1 teaspoon of lemon-pepper seasoning
3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar or dry sherry
½ cup of chopped onion
12 ounces of sliced cooked chicken breast, cut into thin strips (about 2½ cups)
4 small tomatoes, sliced
¾ pound of asparagus spears or one 10-ounce package of frozen asparagus spears.
1 cup of sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium cucumber, thinly sliced

Fresh basil (optional)
Leaf lettuce
Basil Mayonnaise (below)

For the marinade, in a screw-top jar combine vinegar or sherry, oil, lemon-pepper seasoning and lemon juice. Cover and shake well. In a mixing bowl combine chicken and onion. Add marinade. Toss lightly to coat. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook asparagus in boiling salted water for 10 to 15 minutes or till nearly tender. (Or, cook frozen asparagus according to package directions.) Drain asparagus. Rinse with cold water. Let stand, covered with cold water.

Drain onion and chicken, reserving 3 tablespoons of the marinade for Basil Mayonnaise. For salads, line 4 salad plates with lettuce. Cut the tomato slices in half. Around the outer edge of each plate, alternately arrange one-fourth of the tomatoes and one-fourth of the cucumber, overlapping as necessary. (Place the rounded edges of tomatoes toward the outer edges of the plates, forming petal like shapes.) Then, using one-fourth of the mushrooms, arrange a ring inside the cucumber-tomato ring. Drain asparagus spears. Arrange one-fourth of the asparagus and one-fourth of the chicken mixture in the center of each plate. Garnish with fresh basil, if desired. Serve with Basil Mayonnaise.

Basil Mayonnaise: Mix together 3 tablespoons of reserved marinade, 1 tablespoon of fresh snipped basil or 1 teaspoon of dried basil, crushed; and ½ cup of mayonnaise or salad dressing.

Michael Russell
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