Easy Cauliflower Soup

This soup is adapted from a Pioneer Woman recipe.  I have used fresh or frozen cauliflower in this – frozen doesn’t need to be cooked as much, but still tastes great.

If you like, you CAN take your immersion blender to this or dump it in the VitaMix to make a creamy smooth soup.  I like it chunky when I use fresh cauliflower, creamy when I use frozen.  Be sure your other veggies are cooked completely if you’re going to blend it.

This soup also freezes VERY nicely – and because it is meat-free, it’s budget friendly.  This uses chicken stock, so it’s not vegetarian, but you could use vegetable stock and make it that way very easily!

Easy Cauliflower Soup
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Easy Cauliflower Soup

Ingredients

  • 6 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 shallot, Finely Diced
  • 1 whole Carrot Finely Diced
  • 1 stalk Celery, Finely Diced
  • 1 whole Cauliflower Head chopped to 1/2" pieces, or 2 bags frozen cauliflower
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Parsley, minced
  • 6 Cups Chicken Stock (or use boullion and water if you must, it still tastes great)
  • 6 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
  • 2 Cups milk
  • 1 cup Half-and-half
  • 1/4 tsp fresh nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 C roasted corn, optional
  • 1/2 C Fresh spinach, optional

Instructions

  1. In a large dutch oven, heat 2 Tbsp Butter & 1 Tbsp Olive Oil, Sautee the diced shallot, celery and carrot until transparent. Add in the diced cauliflower and optional corn and stir well. Cover and let saute for about 10 minutes.
  2. While cauliflower is roasting, in a skillet melt 6 tbsp butter and then add 6 tbsp butter. This will turn into a paste, that's okay. Add about 1/2 C of your chicken stock and cook until the roux turns a little tan in color and cut the heat
  3. Go back to your cauliflower and add the stock in and cover again, cook for 15 minutes until the cauliflower is cooked through.
  4. Add Milk to the stock and cauliflower mixture and add 1/2 and 1/2 into the roux and whip well. Add the roux into your stock mixture and mix well. When this comes to a simmer add in the milk and nutmeg and taste for salt and pepper, add to taste then reduce the heat to just barely bubbling.
  5. Heat through, it will thicken slightly - you can now blend if you want, or leave chunky. If you like this is when you stir in the spinach to wilt it into the soup. Spinach doesn't blend, so don't use it if you don't want green soup!
http://lookslikehomemade.com/easy-cauliflower-soup/

 

Lentil & Vegetable Soup

Every once in awhile I remember it’s meatless Monday and make something without meat for the family.  This is generally easier said than done, as they are picky pains in the fanny when it comes to cooked vegetables.  Sometimes I just want to stick a bucket of raw carrots, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, etc in front of them with a tub of ranch and say ‘go for it!’

We ended up with Meatless Wednesday this week, my planning has been all over the place and it was chilly and grey today – so a stew sounded good.  This recipe is originally from the Taste of Home Magazine, but I’ve adapted it quite a little for our tastes.  Enjoy!

Lentil & Vegetable Soup
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Lentil & Vegetable Soup

Ingredients

  • 5 1/2 Cups Water
  • 4 Carrots, Sliced
  • 1 Medium onion, Minced Fine (i have to camoflauge this)
  • 2 Ribs Celery, Sliced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced Fine
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2/3 C Dried Green Lentils, rinsed
  • 3 Tbsp Tomato Paste (I buy this in the tube, its about 3/4 of a can)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. Dried Thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. Dill weed
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 1 tsp. Salt

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan or dutch oven, combine the Olive Oil, carrots, onion, Celery, and Garlic and saute until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add the water and lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer for about 25 to 30 minutes.
  3. Once carrots are nearly all the way soft, add in the tomato paste, brown sugar, vinegar, salt, thyme, dill weed and pepper. Stir and bring back to a boil.
  4. Cover and simmer 10 - 15 minutes until flavors mingle nicely. Test for salt.
  5. Serve with warmed naan bread and/or steamed rice.
http://lookslikehomemade.com/lentil-vegetable-soup/

8 Quick Snacks To Make At Home

8 great snack ideas you can make at home

I’m a snacker.  If there are no healthy snacks around, I eat really unhealthy snacks.  So I’ve come up with some strategies to help me circumvent candy bars and horrible fat filled chips.  Not all of these are necessarily the lowest calorie treats you can find, but they’re easy to throw together and not the worst thing in the house you can grab.

8 great snack ideas you can make at home

  1. Almonds & Dark Chocolate.  This is my current fave.  Both are good for you in moderation.  I throw a handful of unroasted almonds and a handful of Girardelli dark chocolate bits into a bowl and snack away.
  2. Popcorn.  We love popcorn here, but I don’t care for microwave popcorn.  I have a whirley pop and pop a huge tub of popcorn a few times a week that I drizzle with a tad of butter and salt.  I dont like plain popcorn, but i can control the oil and salt on my own.  A special treat for movie night is kettle corn, just toss 1/4 cup of sugar in with the kernels right before they start to pop.  When i need a snack, I scoop a couple cups into a bowl and i’m ready.  If i’m looking for sweet & bulk, i mix the popcorn into the almonds and chocolate in #1.
  3. Fruit.  I have a really cool apple peeler and slicer, makes it easy to core and slice an apple fast.  I usually leave the peel on if eating it raw, lots of nutrients in the peel, so keep it.  I also eat a lot of oranges.  Slice and eat, much faster and easier than peeling and segmenting.  Grapes are sweet and if you eat them cold or frozen they can stop your craving for something crunchy.  They’re also great frozen in a glass of water for a different flavor.
  4. Pudding Pops.  I buy pudding cups, stick Popsicle sticks from the craft store in the top, and freeze.  This is way cheaper than buying actual pudding pops, and works well.   ($1 for 4 cups – and you can get fat free or sugar free)
  5. Veggies – celery and peanut butter is a great snack.  Celery is easy and fast to clean, also.  You can clean a whole bunch of celery in a few minutes and plunk a spoonful of peanut butter on a plate pretty quickly.  I also love Sliced hothouse cucumbers and ranch or italian dressing.  I usually make my own Olive Garden dressing, or buy Kens Lite Northern Italian dressing.
  6. Pretzels.  Generally these are baked instead of fried, so they’re lower in fat.  They do have carbs and calories, so moderation is key.  If you’re craving something salty, pretzels are a pretty good choice in the grand scheme of what’s available.
  7. Cheese and ham.  I usually have smoked ham in the fridge.  Generally sliced thin from the deli if I can get it.  I like to cube cheese and cut squares of deli meat and toss them on a plate.  Then wrap the ham around the cheese and nom nom nom.  This is higher in fat, so moderation is key.
  8. Olives and pickles.  Dill pickles are one of my favorite foods.  I like them cold and crunchy.  I also like olives.  Sometimes I just throw some pickles and olives in a bowl for a quick snack.

Carciofi Ripieni – Stuffed Artichokes Recipe

I love Food Network – its an addiction, almost as strong as my addition to recipe & food magazines.  Yes, I know I can find all of the recipes online, but holding that color photo of yummy food in my hand and curling up on the couch with my notepad and endless possibilities is so comforting.  Heck,I could be addicted to something more expensive, like Prada or Hermes….

Maddie and I were in the grocery today and they had some nice artichokes.  Maddie said “Lets make artichokes like Mario Batali.”  Challenge Accepted.

2 things – 1) I wasnt turning the oven on today – it was hot and 2) I had no fresh parsley….its okay – we improvised with the grill and some dried herbs – they were amazing!

Here’s the Recipe:

Continue reading “Carciofi Ripieni – Stuffed Artichokes Recipe”

Italian Pico de Gallo Recipe

This is another great recipe from my good friend Tish – she makes this for our work get-togethers and it goes like gang busters.  I like to eat it on chips as just a salsa but it would be good on a piece of fish or chicken as well.

This is a really impressive but very economical dish, as the olives are easily found in your grocery and are not the fancy “olive bar” olives that cost a mint and taste canned.  You could experiment with other olives.  I think a Kalamata would be great in this, but I’d watch your salt if you do substitute, as some artisan olives are much saltier than our “white bread” varieties.

Anywhere you use an olive tapenade, you could use this Italian pico.

Continue reading “Italian Pico de Gallo Recipe”

Spicy Mexican Cabbage Slaw Recipe

This is another fabulous Tish recipe.  I need to get her bio on this site because her stuff is AMAZING!  She has a Zucchini Carpaccio recipe that will bring down the HOUSE!

I store mine in mason jars – THIS IS NOT a canning recipe.

There is a local restaurant that makes something similar to this – but this is way better and you control the spice and the ingredients – can’t ask for anything more!

Continue reading “Spicy Mexican Cabbage Slaw Recipe”