Category Archives: Healthy

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

 

So, I have to admit that I have a small love affair with cauliflower.  It is absolutely my favorite vegetable.  I can put it in just about anything.  So, with February as my self proclaimed soup month, I decided to make cauliflower soup. Why, not?  Cauliflower has an unbelievable amount of vitamin C, so with it being cold/flu season, the more vitamin C you can add to your diet the better.  I also learned what a roux was and how to make one.  It is a mixture of flour and butter used as a thickening agent for soups and sauces.  Voila, add it to your cooking dictionary.  Also, if you prefer this to be a vegetarian soup, substitute the chicken broth for vegetable broth.  Both are delicious.

 Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup onions, diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, washed and chopped into small pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1.  In a medium saucepan, make a roux by melting the butter on low heat and then adding in the flour.  Stirring constantly for 1 minute.  It will be a paste consistency.

 

2.  Next add in chicken broth, onion, garlic, salt and cauliflower.  Bring mixture to a boil.
Once boiling turn heat down to low and simmer covered for 20 minutes or until cauliflower is tender.

 

3.  In small batches, puree mixture in blender until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.

Adapted from: skinnytaste

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

So, to continue on with my February soup theme, I thought I would incorporate a little Valentine’s Day tribute.  I decided to make a red soup and tomato seemed the obvious choice.  Besides, I had never made home-made tomato soup and the pre-made ones in the store are full of sodium and chemical ingredients.  Then in a moment of genius (or so I thought) I threw in a little extra heart grilled cheese sandwich bonus.  Aren’t tomato soup and grilled cheese a perfect combo anyhow?  Whoever came up with this winning combination should be given an award.  It’s marvelous.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes packed in juice
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3 large slices of sandwich bread, crust removed and torn into 1-inch pieces (I used a dense whole-wheat bread)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

Directions:

1.  In a large stockpot heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add onion, garlic, red pepper flakes and bay leaf.  Stirring frequently, cook until onion is translucent, about 4 minutes.

 2.  Add in tomatoes, including the juice and using a potato masher mash the tomatoes until they are broken down into smaller pieces.  Careful not to break up the bay leaf.  Stir in sugar and bread, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium, stirring occasionally, cook until bread is completely saturated and begins to break down, about 5 minutes.  Remove bay leaf.

3.  Turn heat off under pot and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and puree soup using a blender.  I separated the soup into 3 different batches, so as not to over fill the blender.  I always leave the slightest crack in the clear plastic topper of the blender to allow some of the steam to escape.  Do make sure you hold onto it TIGHTLY when mixing, otherwise you will have a big mess on your hands.

4.  Blend each batch for about 1 minute to get as smooth as possible.  After blending, place tomato soup back into stockpot, stir in chicken broth and salt.  Return soup to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, add salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in basil and serve.

As an extra bonus, I made grilled cheese and cut them into hearts using a large heart shaped cookie cutter.  It came out too cute for words.  Give it a try.  Show that special someone you care.

                                   

Adapted from:  browneyedbaker

Vegetarian Greek Lentil Soup

Since February is my birthday month and soup is one of my favorite foods, I am declaring February Soup Month.  Besides, it is usually the coldest month here in Denver, so why not warm yourself from the inside with some delicious soup.  So my blog this month will be devoted to yummy soups.  So, here we go.

This recipe came from talking with the girls at work.  The forecast was predicting a cold weekend and I wanted to make soup for the cold weather.  I talked with the girls at work and asked them what  their favorite soup were.  I got everything from clam chowder, butternut squash to a vote for this Greek lentil soup.   I just can’t fathom the thought of clam chowder with all its chewy clams.  Yuck!  I prefer not to have rubber bands in my soup.  Sorry Laurie.   It’s a texture thing for me.  I also wanted something more on the hardy side, since I wanted it to be the main course.  So, here is how the lentil soup recipe was born.  Also, an added bonus to this recipe is the feta.  I usually have it with chicken or on a salad, but why not venture into soup.  Here is the finished product, thanks Lisa for the inspiration.  Enjoy!

Yields: approximately 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups brown lentils (washed and picked over if needed)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced small
  • 1 cup celery, finely chopped
  • 1 cup carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) petite diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2 tablespoons Greek Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups packed baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice (or a little less if you’re not that into lemon)
  • crumbled Feta Cheese for serving (optional, but good)
  • pepper to taste

Directions:
1.  Place lentils in colander and rinse with cold water.

2.  In a large stockpot, heat oil over medium heat, saute onion and garlic for 3 minutes.
3.  Add chopped celery and carrots, cook another 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.

4.  Next add in lentils, vegetable broth and tomatoes.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
5.  Add in Greek seasoning, thyme, oregano and salt.  Simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until lentils are soft.  You can adjust the stock after lentil are done depending on how thick you want the soup.

6.  Once lentils are done, remove from heat and stir in chopped spinach and lemon juice.

7.  Place servings into bowls, pepper to taste and top with crumbled feta.

Adapted from:  kalynskitchen

Baked Crispy Edamame

If your looking for an easy party appetizer or a great side dish, then here you go.  These soybeans baked under a Parmesan cheese crust, turn a basic frozen vegetable into a delicious snack.  Crunchy on the outside and chewy in the middle.  However; be warned, they are addictive.  If you are making these for a party, make them shortly before the party starts, or you may end up having to make another batch, because you can’t stop nibbling.  Another good tip to remember when making these delights is that toasted edamame are best when consumed on the day you roast them.  They tend to loose some of their crunch the next morning.  You can still eat them, but they may be more chewy than crispy.  When making this recipe, make sure edemame are dry before mixing with other ingredients.  I placed them on a clean dish towel and patted them dry.  Making sure they are completely dry helps them get that crispy crunch that is so delicious.

Edamame also pack in a healthy punch.  A 1/2 cup serving of shelled edamame contain as much fiber as 4 slices of whole wheat toast and 11 grams of protein.  Step over protein bars, say hello to the new delicious high protein snack.

note:  if you don’t have time for the edamame to thaw, you can speed up this process by pouring the edamame into a stainer and running it under warm water for a few seconds.  Then spread the edamame on a clean dish towel and pat until dry. 

Yield:  roughly 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 (12 oz) package frozen shelled edamame (soybeans), thawed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 400°.  Place edamame, olive oil and Parmesan cheese into medium sized mixing bowl.  Stir until all edamame are coated.

2.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, again stir.  Place edamame onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, in single layer.

3.  Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.  Stir edamame.  Bake for another 5 minutes or until cheese is crispy and golden.  

Noodle-Less Turkey/Veggie Lasagna

I came across this recipe on a vegetarian website.  It sounded delicious with the spaghetti squash.  I can honestly say that it never occurred to me to use spaghetti squash instead of noodles in a dish.  And I am a big fan of spaghetti squash.  I did make some alterations in this recipe by adding the lean ground turkey.  I thought it would be a great way to pack in some protein without adding a bunch of fat.  My husband even said he liked this lasagna better than traditional noodle lasagna.  He also decided it was okay to have 2  pieces of sourdough bread as he put it, “without the noodles, I don’t have to feel guilty about the extra piece of bread.”  After dishing our plates, we did spice things up with some red pepper flakes and dash of Parmesan cheese.  So whether you are a vegetarian and leave the turkey out or cook it with the turkey you will not be disappointed.  Italian night has now taken on a vegetable theme.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (24oz) jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 package lean ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1 medium zucchini thinly sliced (I used the thin slice side of my cheese grater)
  • 3 cups cooked spaghetti squash
  • 3/4 cup part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Italian Blend cheese
  • ground pepper
  • dried parsley flakes

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 °.  Spray casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Place turkey in large skillet and cook until no pink remaining.  Add jar of spaghetti sauce and Italian seasoning.  Simmer 10 minutes.
  3. In a casserole dish, begin layering 1/3 zucchini, top with 1 cup spaghetti squash, 1/4 cup ricotta cheese, sprinkle with 1/4 cup shredded cheese and then 1 cup of turkey/sauce mixture.   Repeat this process until all ingredients are gone. Mine ended up being 3 layers.  When doing top layer use all remaining turkey/sauce mixture and finally top with another 1/4 cup shredded cheese.

4.  I used my fingers to crumble the ricotta into small pieces.

5.  Sprinkle with parsley flakes and fresh ground pepper.

6.   Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.  There will be some water in the lasagna because of all the vegetables.  After it was done baking I just slightly tilted the pan to the side and used a spoon to scoop out most of the water.

Adapted from: greenlitebites

Healthy Green Smoothie

After all my holiday eating and then having to getting ready for a fun New Years Eve party, I decided to come up with a healthy pre-party snack.  I wanted something quick, easy and good for me.  I hoped it would balance out the cocktails and food I would consume later in the night.  I came up with this smoothie on the fly.  So, hope you enjoy it and hope everyone has a safe and Happy New Years!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground flaxseed
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 frozen banana chopped

Directions:
1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until thoroughly combined, about 2-3 minutes.  

**If you want a thicker smoothy either add more banana, which makes it a bit sweeter or you can add a few ice cubes.

Curried Red Lentil Soup

 
Now that Christmas has come and gone another year and I am totally “turkied” out, I was craving some type of vegetarian soup for dinner. Something easy to make, full of flavor and healthy.  I settled on this recipe since I had never made a red lentil soup before.  It was a perfect cold winter night dinner.  I have to admit it wasn’t the prettiest soup to take pictures of, but believe me it was delicious.  I will definitely be making this one again.  

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 (32-oz) container vegetable broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 lb. red lentils, rinsed
  • 1/3 cup raw barley, rinsed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions:
  1. In large soup pot heat olive oil.  Add onion and garlic, saute over medium heat until onions transparent, about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add all the remaining ingredients, except for salt and pepper.
  3. Bring to a rapid boil, then decrease heat.  Cover and simmer until lentils are mushy, about 1 1/2 hours.  Stirring occasionally
  4. When lentils are done, remove bay leaves and season with salt and pepper.
  5. This soup thickens as it sits.  If you want a thinner soup, add more water as needed.

Adapted from:  VegKitchen

Quinoa “Veggie” Fried Rice

 Hello, delicious.  This recipe takes an old traditional recipe like fried rice and amps up the vegetables and substitutes the rice for quinoa.  It’s a great vegetarian dish that even my husband could love.  Also, this is one of the only times I will eat mushrooms in a meal.  For whatever reason mushrooms always taste a bit like dirt.  Sorry mushroom lovers of the world, they just do.  I’ve tried them fried, baked in butter, you name it and I have tried it in attempts to learn to tolerate mushrooms.  I decided when making this dish I would not omit them, realizing most of the world does not share my views.  I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved this dish, including the mushrooms.  Maybe I will become a converted mushroom lover.  You never know stranger things have happened. 

Yields: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups broccoli florets, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 3 cups quinoa, cooked
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce (I use Bragg’s liquid aminos, it’s much better for you)
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • sesame seeds for garnish
  • Sriracha sauce if desired

Directions:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in small skillet over medium heat.  Add beaten eggs and fry until cooked through.  Flipping only one time.  Allow eggs to cool before dicing into small pieces.
  2. In a large skillet over medium high heat, add remaining olive oil.  Add onion and garlic, saute for 4 minutes or until onion is translucent.
  3. Add mushrooms, broccoli and zucchini.  Saute vegetables until tender, about 4 minutes.  Stirring constantly.
  4. Add corn, peas, carrot and quinoa.  Cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add ginger and soy sauce, stir to combine.  Next add green onions and eggs, cook for 2 more minutes.
  6. Garnish with sesame seeds and/or Sriracha if desired and serve immediately.

Adapted from: damndelicious

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower

Well let me tell you I have attempted mashed cauliflower in the past and it did not turn out so well.  It was gritty, not creamy and lacked much of a flavor.  So, when I came across this recipe I was a little hesitant to attempt this side dish again.  But, considering cauliflower is my favorite vegetable,  I was determined to give it another chance.  This recipe was a hit.  It had a smooth texture and was loaded with delicious flavor.  So, if your looking for a healthy mashed potato alternative, give this a try.  Let me know if you think it was a good as my husband and I did.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped into smaller pieces (florets only)
  • 1 (6 oz) container nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 small shallot, chopped
  • 1 scallion, chopped for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, bring water to boil.  Add cauliflower to boiling water and cook for 10 minutes or until florets are soft.
  2. Remove cauliflower from heat and drain in colander.  Place cauliflower in food processor, add Greek yogurt, butter, garlic and shallots.  Blend until creamy.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste or any seasoning of your choice and blend again. 
  4. Transfer mixture into serving bowl and mix in Parmesan cheese while still hot.  Garnish with scallions. 

Adapted from: sproutandpea

White Turkey Chili

 

This white turkey chili is a great, tasty alternative to the traditional red chili.  If your looking for something warm to cook on that cold winter night, look no further.  By using green chili, jalapenos, cumin and chili powder, this chili is packed with delicious flavors.  This dish has a unique taste that even the pickiest eater will enjoy.  You can spice this dish to your own taste, by adding more jalapenos or even a little hot sauce to your own bowl.  I served it with baked tortilla chips, but it would be out of this world to dip homemade tortillas in.  This is one of my husband’s favorite meals. It is actually what he requested for his birthday this year.  So, therefore; I am adding it to hubbies favorites. This will be a new category, for my blog.   

Ingredients:

 
 • 1 tablespoon butter
• 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
• 1/2 cup chopped celery
• 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
• 1 tablespoon minced seeded jalapeño pepper
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• 1 (20-ounce) package chopped cooked lean ground turkey
• 2 (19-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and divided
• 2 (16-ounce) cans fat-free, chicken broth *less 1/2 cup
• 1 (7-ounce) can chopped green chiles
• 2 cans white hominy drained and rinsed
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
• 1 teaspoon chili powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 1 cup 1% low-fat milk
• 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:
    1.  Melt the margarine in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, red bell pepper, jalapeno and garlic, sauté 5 minutes.
2.  Add cooked turkey, 1 1/2 cups beans, broth, green chilies, hominy, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper.   Bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.
3. Mash remaining beans with a fork. Add mashed beans and milk to the turkey mixture.  Simmer uncovered, 20 minutes or until mixture becomes slightly thickened, stirring frequently.
4. Remove from heat and stir in chopped cilantro.
 

 

Adapted from: Cooking Light- November 1998