Friday, January 25, 2013

Spicy Veggie Soup

You're lookin' at an accidental surprise dish, here. You see, Mr. Wonderful is doing a cleanse diet thingy and I just couldn't make him another green smoothie or salad. It's just SO COLD OUT! We recently started getting organic produce from a weekly co-op and it was heavy on the bell peppers this time. So, naturally, we've been having lots of veggie omelets and fajitas. But I STILL wasn't using them fast enough. So, this pot of yumminess was a little on the spicy side with 1 1/2 large red bell peppers and 1 or 2 large yellow peppers. But it was surprisingly good! Especially when you throw in every other vegetable you have lyin' 'round, "stone soup" style! (One of my favorite childhood stories, by the way.) I would have liked to have put cabbage in here as well, but I didn't have any to speak of and a random experiment soup such as this didn't warrant a whole trip to the store. And experiment it was, and not a planned meal to blog, which is why I don't have an ingredient shot, but I did take this picture (below) of everything before it cooked down, because it was just so colorful and purty.

What you need:

2 onions, sliced
1 1/2 large red bell peppers, diced
2 large yellow bell peppers, diced
1 medium leek, sliced
10-12 baby carrots or maybe about 3 large carrots, sliced
1 can of diced tomatoes, with juice
2 kale leaves, chopped
2 collard greens leaves, chopped
2 celery stalks, sliced
3-4 T. dry onion soup mix (watch out for MSG. Bad news. Every brand at every store that I've tried has it. Even the ever-popular Lipton. The only one that I've found that doesn't is in the Winco bulk section. So check labels. It won't flat out say, MSG, by the way. It will say monosodium glutamate. Sneaky little devils.)
5 C. water

How you make it:

Toss everything in a pot or dutch oven. Bring to boil and cover and simmer for 30 minutes or more. Stirring occasionally. (I probably let this cook down for a couple hours because I was busy doing other slave, er, I mean, mom duties.)

Ladle out 1/2 to 2/3 of the soup into a blender and purée. Pour back into the pot and mix together.

Of course, if you don't like things spicy, there's no reason this has to be. Go very easy on the peppers, and you're good to go!

Now I think there are MANY variation possibilities with this one. You could add some lime juice and cilantro, any sort of beans, chicken, shrimp, you name it. But if you want to stay cheap and all veggie, this "stone soup" was a nice surprise success.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Quinoa Pizza Bites


I had been dying to try this recipe for weeks now ever since I ran across it on Frugal Living NW, who got it from Fit Sugar. Pizza doesn't happen around here much anymore since we have 3 (sometimes 4) out of 5 people who avoid dairy. Plus, these were so tempting because I'm always looking for new ways to incorporate quinoa and these looked so healthy and full of protein. I made some changes by adding italian sausage (because I had 1/2 pound leftover from making soup), sun dried tomatoes, and sautéing the onion (I have a weird problem with eating onion that hasn't been sautéed. And don't get me started on raw onion!! That's been a major obstacle in my enjoyment of meatloaves and the like....)

(Marinara sauce not pictured.)

What you need:

1/2 pound italian sausage, or you could use pepperoni or any other meat topping if you prefer. (or leave out the meat altogether, for vegetarian.)
1 C. uncooked quinoa
2 large eggs
1 C. chopped onion
1 C. shredded mozzarella cheese (I used 1/2 C. real mozzarella and 1/2 C. non-dairy Daiya brand and split the mixture into two batches, making half non-dairy, which actually came out quite good!)
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 C. fresh basil, chopped or 2 T. dried
1/2 C. sun dried tomatoes, diced
1/4 tsp. salt (could use 1/2 tsp if not adding sausage or pepperoni)
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. oregano
Pizza sauce for dipping. (One of my favorite, funny, and adorable, I might add, chefs, Chef Fabio, has a fabulous and easy marinara sauce recipe.

How you make it:

Cook the quinoa (rinsing it first!) by boiling it with 2 C water in a covered pot. Once it's boiling, simmer for 15 minutes and then take it off the heat and keep it covered for another 5-10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Brown the sausage in a skillet then add the onion and sauté with it, till the onion is cooked down and tender.
In a medium size bowl, mix the sausage mixture together with the quinoa and the rest of the ingredients, except the pizza sauce.
Spoon into mini muffin tin (greased if not using sausage), filling each cup to the top and press down to compact.
Bake for 30-35 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. The original recipe says to cook for 15-20 minutes, but mine were not even close to done at that point and went longer. Probably because of the added weight and fat of the meat. And actually, the non-dairy cheese ones took even longer at 40-45 minutes. But I had heaped those pretty big in the tins.
Serve warm with sauce for dipping.

THESE.WERE.FABULOUS. No joke. What a great snack or meal combined with a salad!

You could easily make these with any pizza topping ingredients you prefer. I want to add mushrooms and bell peppers next time, for sure!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Golden Winter Soup

I'm Baaaaaaaack!!! Aren't you so excited?!? Wow! No new recipes in over a year. Well, sorry. 2012 was full of hospitalizations and surgeries and new food allergies, oh my! All recipes will be dairy-free in addition to gluten-free! Yahoooooo! I will soon be updating the archives with adjustments to recipes to reflect dairy-free substitutions. Well, except maybe the cheesy chickeny chicken enchiladas. I can't imagine those being ANY good with dairy-free "cheese" and the like.
But anyway, let's get things rolling again, with THE BEST winter-y soup you'll ever eat. Full of hearty vegetables with a hint of sweetness from the butternut squash. And so fast and easy, you won't even believe the awesomeness of yourself when you make it.

(Sorry, no ingredient picture. I misplaced my planning-ahead-blogging-groove and didn't get a shot in.)

What you need:

2 T. non-dairy butter or olive oil
5 C. cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 C. cubed peeled russet potato
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
2 C. sliced leek (about 2 medium) Leeks are the bomb, yo. If you're new to purchasing them, they basically look like huge scallions/green onions. And have a similar smell/taste.
4 C. low sodium, fat-free chicken broth
1 C. coconut milk (canned)
Fresh chopped chives for garnish, optional

How you make it:

Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add squash, potato, salt, and pepper to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add leek; sauté 1 minute. Stir in broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until potato is tender, stirring occasionally. Place half of potato mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining potato mixture. Stir in coconut milk. Cover and keep warm.
I used my Ninja blender and it was large enough to handle blending the whole pot in one batch, so you may not need to do it in two batches depending on what you're using.
Garnish with chives. We like to eat this alone as a whole meal itself, but you could serve it with some sort of bread and/or salad as well.
Well, hope you enjoyed my return to the blog! And hopefully we'll be seeing some more to come. I already have some great recipes lined up!