Monday, March 31, 2014

White Bean Rosemary Soup

I'm always leery of soups that have so few, and simple, ingredients.  This soup, though, shines with its simplicity and is bursting with the lovely notes of fresh rosemary.  It's light, yet flavorful and very filling.  This is a perfect compliment to a hearty green salad and some good crusty bread.  Or, serve this with a main dish that is a little lacking when it comes to a protein component.

I got the recipe here and like most of Dreena Burton's recipes, tweaked it only slightly.

White Bean Rosemary Soup
serves 6-8

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped celery
  • 1 TBLS minced garlic
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 4 cans white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups broth + 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 1/2 - 2 TBLS lemon juice, to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste
--Saute onion and celery in stock pot until soft
-- Add garlic and mustard and saute another 2 minutes
-- Add three cans of beans, liquid, and rosemary.  Simmer 10 minutes and puree until very smooth
-- Add the last can of beans and lemon juice and heat through.
-- Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Inside Out Stuffed Shells

I'm all about ease.  And making my family's favorite dishes. Oh, and the comfort of casseroles. 

This recipe came about because I was out of large jumbo shells when I went to make one of our family's favorite recipes, stuffed shells.  Thankfully, my improvised version went over better than the original. I hope you enjoy this creamy and nutritious pasta bake, it is hands-down my boys' favorite meal.

Inside-out Stuffed Shells
Serves 6-8
Active time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes
Serving Suggestions: With red and yellow roasted vegetables and/or a green salad.

What you'll need:

  • 1 lb whole wheat small shell pasta OR other small pasta (elbow, rotini, penne)
  • 1, 16 oz, box tofu, drained
  • 10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed OR chopped kale
  • 1, 24 oz, jar favorite pasta sauce
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp basil -- using 3 TBLS fresh chopped basil makes this really delicious
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 TBLS nutritional yeast (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
What you'll do:
  • Cook your pasta al dente according to the directions.
  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Meanwhile, mash the tofu well in a large mixing bowl with a potato masher.
  • Add in all the other ingredients and stir well.
  • When pasta is done, drain well and then add to the mixing bowl.  Stir until pasta is well coated.
  • Transfer coated pasta to a lightly greased 9x13 baking dish.  
  • Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
Time saving tips:  
  • Make the noodles and tofu sauce ahead of time
  • Consider assembling the dish ahead of time, and then just bake when the time comes

Monday, March 24, 2014

Orange Vegetable Soup

I once had a chicken tortilla soup with similar ingredients to this soup and I just loved it so much I had to try and recreate it while making it healthier.  This is my rendition.  The beans combined with the barley give you the complete protein and also lends itself very nicely to a great spring time soup!

Orange Vegetable Soup
Serves 8-10 (16 cups total)
Active time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Serving Suggestions:  A soup like this only needs some great bread and a simple green salad.

What you'll need:

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 cups sliced celery
  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups orange juice
  • 1 (14 oz) can tomato sauce OR 2 8oz cans
  • 1 cup raw barley
  • 1 TBLS dried cilantro or 3 TBLS fresh
  • 2 (14 oz) can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • salt and pepper to taste

What you'll do:
  • Saute the onion, garlic, celery, and carrots until soft and translucent.  About 10 minutes.
  • Add remaining ingredients, minus beans, to the stockpot.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes until the barley is soft.
  • Once barley is done, add beans to the stock pot.  Heat through, season to taste, and serve.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Curried Red Kidney Beans

Ahh...this is total comfort food for me. I just love Indian flavors in my food.  Cauliflower is just a bonus.

This dish is easy and delicious.  It made the whole house smell amazing, and while we served it with some brown jasmine rice, you could very easily have some naan on the side, or even wrap it up in a whole wheat tortilla.  Don't leave the fresh cilantro out, as it really brings this dish together.

I got the original recipe here and tweaked it to our liking!  Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Curried Red Kidney Beans
serves 6
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 TBLS minced garlic
  • 1 TBLS freshly chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cardimon
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp each: basil, tumeric, garam masala, cinnamon
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 4 can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups chopped cauliflower florets
  • 1 TBLS lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup loosely chopped fresh cilantro
  • salt to taste
  • 4 cups cooked brown rice
-- Saute onion until soft in a large skillet
-- Add in garlic, ginger and all spices.  Saute 2 minutes.
-- Add tomatoes, beans, cauliflower and 1 1/2 cups water.  Simmer for 20 minutes, until cauliflower is soft.  Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
-- Add lemon juice, cilantro, and 1/2-1 tsp salt (to taste) and heat through
-- Serve over cooked brown rice

Monday, March 17, 2014

Creamy Spinach Soup

Happy St Patty's day! 

Growing up, my mother would make a wonderful creamy spinach soup on cold days.  I think it was a Knorr packet that she "doctored" up, but I have such fond memories of the delicious creamy goodness. I wanted to remake that creamy spinach soup for my own children to enjoy, and this is what I came up with.  

So in honor of leprechauns and all things green -- here is my version of that soup. Please don't be put off with the color, it really is quite tasty!

Creamy Spinach Soup
Serves: 6-8
Active time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
Serving Suggestions: A hearty grilled cheese for lunch, as a starter for a larger dinner, or with some bread and a quinoa salad for a lighter dinner.

What you'll need:
  • 2 cups peeled and chopped baking potatoes
  • 1 TBLS olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups chopped onion
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 10 oz box of frozen spinach, thawed OR 1 9-10 oz bag of fresh spinach OR 1 can spinach, drained but not squeezed dry
  • 1 cup almond milk

What you'll do:
  • Put the potatoes in a microwave safe dish and heat for 8 minutes until they are tender
  • In a large saucepan, heat olive oil.  Saute the onion in the oil for about 5 minutes until transparent.
  • Add broth, salt and pepper, nutmeg, potatoes and spinach.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • If using raw spinach, add now and stir until wilted.
  • Using an immersion blender, or a regular blender, carefully puree the soup until creamy.
  • Add milk and stir to combine.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Black Bean & Rice Skillet Dinner

I got this recipe from a friend and majorly tweaked not only the amount of, and type of, the ingredients but also how it is prepared.  I love how easy and fast this recipe comes together.  All my boys love this dish! If you need to stretch this dish to feed a couple more people, serve it in whole wheat tortillas as a burrito.

Black Bean & Rice Skillet Dinner
Serves 4-6
Active time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes (with cooking rice)
Total time: 50 minutes
Serving Suggestions:  Eat this in a bowl or on a whole wheat tortilla topped with salsa (opt), with a green vegetable or salad as a side.  

What you'll need:
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 cups vegetable broth OR water
  • 1 TBLS olive oil
  • ¾ cup diced onion
  • 2 cups thinly sliced zucchini
  • 2 cups thinly sliced yellow squash
  • 1 8oz package sliced white mushrooms
  • salt to taste (if your broth is full sodium, I suggest not adding salt here)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • red pepper to taste if you want a kick (1/4 tsp)
  • 1 14oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14oz can butter beans OR chickpeas OR canellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (opt)
  • 4-6 whole wheat tortillas (opt)
  • Salsa (opt)

What you'll do:
  • Start by cooking your rice.
  • In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion, zucchini, squash, and mushrooms and saute 10 minutes until vegetables are soft and onion is translucent.  To help this along, cover the skillet and stir every so often to prevent sticking.
  • Add salt and cumin to vegetables and stir for a couple minutes.
  • Add beans, finished rice, and cheese (if using) and heat through.  

Time Tip:

  • Pre-cook the rice so the whole meal only takes 20 minutes to put together!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Orange Whole Wheat Pancakes

When we lived in Ohio, there was this little hole-in-the-wall diner that we would visit for their pancakes.  They made everything fresh and from scratch in their kitchen and our favorite flavor of theirs was an orange whole wheat pancake.  When we moved, tried as we might, we still have not found a little place that serves great pancakes like we miss.  So I set out to make a version myself.

I found it.  And we're happy.

Also, have you ever gone to make pancakes and realized you’re out of milk?  I have, and let me tell you, this recipe changed everything!  Now, it doesn't matter if I have milk in the house or not, I'll still make these because we all love them that much.

Orange Whole Wheat Pancakes
Serves: 12 pancakes
Active time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
Serving Suggestions: With a bowl of fruit on the side and some eggs if you're in the mood.

What you'll need:
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups orange juice
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 tsp orange extract (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2 TBLS sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
What you'll do:
  • Mix all wet ingredients together in a small bowl.
  • Mix all dry ingredients together in a larger bowl.
  • Add wet to dry and mix until combined.
  • Heat skillet over medium heat and when hot, spoon 1/3 cup of the batter onto skillet.  Cook 2-3 minutes each side until desired color of brownness is achieved.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Cumin Rice with Eggplant & Peas

Sometimes, on these chilly almost-spring days, I crave a good one-pot dish that is full of flavor and easy -- light and filling.  Add some Indian flavors combined with one of my all-time favorite cooked veggies and I'm set.  I found the original recipe here and tweaked it a tad.

Easy and delicious...and when done like I did it, quick, too!!  I served this with a salad topped with some white beans and called it good.

Leftovers fit really well in a tortilla for a quick lunch.  Just saying.

Cumin Rice with Eggplant & Peas
serves 6

  • 1 1/2 cups dry brown rice + 3 cups water for cooking
  • 4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 ts powdered ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 lb eggplant, 1 inch cubes
  • 1 lg onion, chopped
  • 1 lg yellow/orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 2 cups frozen peas
-- Cook rice in the water with the spices until done (in a rice cooker or on the stove is fine)
-- In a large skillet, saute the eggplant, onion, and bell pepper until soft
-- Add tomatoes and peas to skillet and heat through
-- When rice is done, mix into the skillet with veggies, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve

**If you have 3 cups of brown rice already cooked, add the spices in with the veggies and just mix it all together. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Traditional German Barley Soup

I am part of a unique book club.  I think I've mentioned it before.  We read a book and then try to find dishes from the same origin as the book is based on.  We recently read a book based in Germany and I had a fun time looking for an authentic recipe.  That didn't contain meat.  At all.

It was quite the search, but I stumbled on a vegetable and barley soup recipe and while I most used the recipe linked (below), I also used a little bit of a recipe I found on a German food-blog (thank you Google Translator for helping me figure out what it even said!).  I feel this is probably pretty close to the real deal (minus the bacon, for which I subbed my favorite liquid smoke) and hope you enjoy.

Original recipe was found here and tweaked.

German Barley Soup
serves 4-6 (10 cups)
  • 1 lg onion, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 1 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 1/4 cup finely chopped leek
  • 1 1/4 cup finely chopped peeled russet potato
  • 1 cup barley, rinsed well
  • 8 cups of water/broth
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
-- Saute onion, carrots, celery, and leek in a large pot until soft.
-- Add potatoes, broth, barley, and spices.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about an hour or so.  Stir occasionally.  Soup is done when barley is all soft and potatoes are starting to fall apart.
-- Add liquid smoke and stir.
-- Season with salt and pepper, if desired.