Tag Archives: yum

Soup, It’s What The Doctor Called For

21 Oct

I haven’t been feeling very well in the past couple days (ahem Jessica who got me sick at work), so it was the perfect time to have Soup Week. Since I plan to make soup all week (different & new varieties) I dubbed it Soup Week to make it exciting – like Shark Week! lol. Are you excited yet? I am! Although my husband likes soups, I love them and I tend to want to make soup (homemade, of course) for dinner often. I had already decided before I was under the weather that I wanted to have Soup Week so I found three new recipes for soups that I have never made before, Pasta Fagioli, Broccoli Cheese Soup, and Chicken Enchilada Soup, and I plan to also make one of my favorite soups that I haven’t made in a while: Lasagna Soup. Is your mouth watering yet?? Mine certainly is.

I decided to start with the Fagioli and of course had to riff on the recipe that I found on the Frugal Living Now blog. This was exactly what I needed to make me feel so much better and was much less calories than a traditional ‘comfort food’ i.e. mac n cheese, mashed potatoes, etc. It was light yet filling and very tasty! It was so easy to make, the most intensive thing I had to do was literally collect all the ingredients. You could probably let it simmer for only 30 minutes if pressed for time and I bet it would be just as wonderful.

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Meaty Pasta Fagioli

Ingredients:
1 medium onion
1 lb ground beef
1 tbsp olive oil
2 carrots chopped
1 can white beans, great northern, or kidney- drained & rinsed (I used white beans)
1 can petite diced tomatoes and juice
32 oz chicken stock
2 cloves garlic crushed
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
Fresh parsley
Parmesan cheese

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Directions:
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat, add onions and sauté about 2 minutes. Add ground beef, break up meat with a spoon, brown meat thoroughly. Add carrots, rinsed beans, tomatoes, garlic, chicken stock, tomato paste and stir to combine. Add red pepper flakes, thyme, oregano, rosemary, and bay leaf. Reduce soup to simmer and cook for 1 hour. Check flavoring and add salt and pepper as necessary. Add elbow macaroni and cook for an additional ten minutes. Add parsley and Parmesan and serve.
Makes 6 servings.

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I loved how fragrant my kitchen was with robust herbs and garlic. The second my husband came home from work the very first words were “something smells so good!”.

This soup is super simple to make and fantastic, I hope you love it! Now I am definitely looking forward to the rest of Soup Week and trying all these new recipes!

Summer Chicken & Veggie Pasta

23 Sep

I have been trying to be better about buying more ingredients and scratch cooking more days a week then eating out- a very bad habit that my husband and I used to fall into regularly in our last home. We lived around a lot more restaurants and there was this magical app called Grub Hub which we could order food from restaurants via our phones, it became too convenient. When we moved I had a bigger kitchen, more time (due to a commute cut in half), and less access to not only restaurants that deliver- but also just the plethora of options for dining out. So when I go to the grocery store and have load up my cart with more vegetables and fresh foods than packaged items I feel pretty good.

What I do need to get better at doing is going through my pantry and fridge, making a list of those things I need, AND planning meals for the week before heading to the grocery store. I got one request from my husband while we were in the store and that was my Summer Chicken and Veggie Pasta. This is an easy pasta that can be made quickly and ingredients can be interchanged easily for whatever you like. I used chicken breast that my husband grills with broccoli, carrots, onion, zucchini, green beans, and peas (which I forgot to add). I typically marinate my chicken breast with Italian dressing for about 20-30 minutes before grilling it, however I ran out of dressing so I made a simple mix of 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon balsamic, dash of salt, dash of pepper, 1 crushed clove of garlic which I placed in a Tupperware with chicken and the lid on and shook to combine. The marinating helps to add subtle flavor to the chicken and makes it very tender and juicy. I let the chicken breast rest for about 5 minutes before slicing it for the pasta.

Summer Chicken & Veggie Pasta: serving size 2

Ingredients:
1 grilled marinated chicken breast sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small head broccoli trimmed up and chopped
2 carrots peeled and chopped
1 zucchini quartered and chopped
1/2 yellow onion chopped
handful of green beans trimmed
1 clove garlic crushed
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup white wine
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
Pinch crushed red pepper
2 servings cooked pasta (rotini, penne, rigatoni, etc)

Directions:
Heat a medium to large pan to medium heat and add olive oil till warmed, add the broccoli, carrots, onions, and green beans to the pan, saute for about 5 minutes over medium heat (reduce if onions begin to brown). Add salt, black and crushed red pepper. Add garlic and zucchini and saute until tender. When pasta is finishing up add wine and butter to the vegetables and heat through. Once pasta is drained drizzle lightly with olive oil (about 1 tablespoon). Serve vegetables over pasta and add the sliced chicken to the top.

If using frozen peas add approximately 4-5 minutes before the end of cooking so they are heated through.

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This is a great light dish if you are looking for something with a nice fresh taste with simple ingredients and especially if you don’t have much time. It’s one my of my husband’s favorite dinners.

Quick pasta bake

6 May

I happen to love lasagna and lasagna soup too (OMG Bobby Deen’s recipe is to die for). But traditional lasagna takes a long time to make and frankly boiling the noodles and not having them break, making sure the filling is solidified, cooked thoroughly, and that it ‘stands up’ rather than sliding into a sloppy mess on your plate- without overcooking the dish and making the cheese rubbery can be difficult. I could use ‘oven ready’ noodles but there is just something about the ¬†texture that I am not a fan of. I try to make a home cooked meal most nights and that sometimes means starting dinner around 6:45 pm after commuting, picking up my daughter, errands, getting Madeline settled, straightening up the house, etc so when I want the lasagna feel but don’t want to waste my time with all the difficulties associated with making it and I don’t have a lot of time, I do this. Here are my short cuts:

First I boiled about half a pound of penne pasta, cutting the time about a minute short of the cooking instructions. I took my “Everything Veggie Pasta Sauce” (https://amyblandes.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/everything-veggie-pasta-sauce/) and spread it over the bottom of a medium size Pyrex baking dish, then I dumped about half my strained pasta and spread that out. Then I simply took spoonfuls of ricotta cheese and spread them (as well as I could, plain ricotta is a little hard to spread) took a little more sauce and spread it over those and then added the rest of the pasta, sauce and then covered the top with shredded mozzarella cheese. I covered it with foil and baked for 15 minutes and it was perfect. All the things I love about lasagna but made so much easier! It had the creaminess of the ricotta without having to wait for it to cook through as there was no egg added, the melty gooey mozzarella cheese. It was totally easy and quick! This can work with alfredo sauce, a butternut sage sauces, or even pesto. *This made more than one meal so I saved it and we reheated it covered with foil at 360 degrees for about 20 minutes and it was still very tasty two nights later.

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Food trucks!

5 May

Yesterday my hubby, daughter and I had an adventure day beginning with a trip to the Los Angeles Zoo and then a food truck charity event and finally dropping my daughter off so we could see a movie with friends. I happen to be a big fan of food trucks, they are a fun alternative to traditional restaurants often with creative fusion foods. Our hometown hosted a charity event in support of the troops and promised live entertainment with lots of delicious food trucks. I of course was intrigued. Now this is my first time going after beginning the Veg Project (becoming a vegetarian with my bestie) so I was a little concerned that I wouldn’t be able to find something to nosh since a lot of the food I’ve gotten in the past at different food trucks have been very meat centric.
There were a lot of fun trucks- grilled cheese, Asian fusion, Thai fusion, BBQ, burgers, cupcakes, etc. We found an acceptable length of a line at Sam Choy’s Pineapple Express. There was a lovely sweet pineapple and ginger fragrance coming from the truck. I ordered shrimp tacos with a pineapple slaw on corn tortillas, and they were delicious, grilled shrimp and a tangy and fruit slaw- a tasty little party in my mouth. After listening to some live tunes and devouring our delicious lunch I knew it was time for something sweet! We checked out the other trucks and found Pie ‘n Burger which has one of my very favorite things right in the title- pie!! Right at the top of the listing was the apple pie, immediately I knew that had to be it! I live for apple pie and it did not disappoint! Sweet, cinnamony, tangy apples engulfed by a flakey, buttery, perfect crust. I was one happy- and full mama when we left!

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What’s for dinner?

30 Apr

It’s been a while since I began the Veg Project and its coming to that time of year again where my biggest weakness: BBQ seems to be all I see, smell, and can think about. This was my breaking point when I was a vegetarian in high school. I am working on trying not to fall into that delicious meaty trap. I still feel like I am making a healthier lifestyle choice to stay away from meat, however I have recently realized that I have been carbo-loading like there’s no tomorrow and that I started eating a ton of sweets since I have been focusing on eliminating meat. I know I need to start eating a healthier vegetarian diet, trust me, it’s easy to fall into the “I’m just going to eat fries everyday because, hey, I’m a vegetarian”. I do diversify my meals as much as possible but I need to keep my meals more natural, less manufactured and practice my least favorite thing: eating in moderation.
So last night I made roasted salmon filet (425 degrees with just a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic for 20 minutes), grilled zucchini planks, grilled shrimp with lemon, salt, garlic powder, and cracked black pepper, and a spinach salad with raspberries, roasted slivered almonds and honey mustard dressing- totally delish.

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