Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Soup

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I’ve been a bit sick the past couple of days and really needing something warm, comforting, and nutritious. I also didn’t want to spend a long time in the kitchen. This wonderful soup came to mind – full of veggies and spice. It’s creamy with a little bit of crunch from the roasted cauliflower and just enough heat to help with the congestion but not be offensive to those who don’t like spicy food.

Ingredients:
1 head of cauliflower
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1″ pieces
1 quart (6 cups) vegetable broth
2 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons garam masala
2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350F. Cut up the cauliflower into small pieces and lay onto a baking pan. Drizzle the olive oil on top and add the garam masala and paprika. Carefully stir around on the pan a bit and place into the oven for about 20 minutes. cauli2

While that’s cooking, in a large pot bring the water, vegetable broth, salt, cayenne, and cut up sweet potatoes to a boil and cover. Cook for about 20 minutes – the potatoes will be tender. Let it cool a bit, then slowly add the potato pieces and some of the broth into a food processor or blender (I had to do mine in 2 batches). Blend until all of it is smooth. Place the soup back into the pot and onto the stove on low heat. cauli3

Add the cauliflower to the soup and stir together well. Makes about 4-6 large bowls, or 6-8 smaller bowls.

 

Beef Lettuce Cups

 

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These look just as good as they taste!  I’ve been able to get pickier eaters to eat more vegetables making meals like this, and I enjoy making it. Make sure you check the hoisin sauce label – I am able to get several brands here that are gluten free, but the standard hoisin has it.

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Ingredients:
1 pound lean beef
1 onion, diced
1 and 1/2 cups green cabbage, chopped
1 tomato, diced
1 head iceberg lettuce
2 cups bean sprouts
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper

a3Heat a large skillet on medium heat and add the beef. Cook until it’s no longer pink. Drain the extra fat or use a large slotted spoon and transfer the beef to a different bowl. Add the olive oil to the pan and the onions. After cooking the onions for a few minutes, add the cabbage and cook until it’s tender.

a4Add the hoisin sauce and the cooked beef back to the pan. Stir well and then add the bean sprouts. Season with the salt and pepper.

Make little bowls out of the iceberg lettuce and carefully scoop the beef mix into them and top with the chopped tomatoes. Serve warm. You can pick them up and eat like a taco, or eat more like a salad. Serves 3-4 and reheats well for tomorrow’s lunch!

 

Cucumber Caprese Avocado Salad

b1We have an over abundance of cucumbers in the garden right now that I need to use. This salad takes 10-15 minutes to make, is delicious and makes a lot. I think I could eat nearly anything caprese – I love fresh basil, tomatoes, and mozzarella together. I could eat this for lunch everyday!

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Ingredients:
2 cucumbers, diced
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
8 oz fresh mozzarella (I used the precut balls)
1 avocado, pitted and diced
1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

 

Jamaican Curried Chicken

ch1Sweet potatoes and chicken go really well together. This meal has a bit of heat and spice – and is full of flavor. I added rice with it today, but you can serve it with any other grains or rice, or can eat it by itself.

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Ingredients:
12 oz. chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
2 cups sweet potatoes, cubed
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 green pepper,chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons curry powder
1/4 cup of water
1 clove garlic
olive oil

ch3Heat up a bit of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and green peppers. Cook together for about 5 minutes. Add the chicken, curry, and cayenne and stir together for a few minutes. Then add the potatoes and mix together until the chicken is no longer pink out the outside. Slowly pour the water in turn the heat to low and cover. Let it simmer together for about 15 minutes.

ch2This will serve 2-3 with some rice or another grain. Will serve 4 if you serve a side dish of sorts. I’m often cooking for 2 people and with a meal like this I generally don’t make side dishes, but would like to share what to expect if you’re feeding a crowd!

Citrus Green Beans

bean2Green beans are in season right now, and you can get lots of them for great prices. I wanted to make a light and fresh side dish that everyone can enjoy. I’ve found many picky eaters and children like this. It’s also very easy to make and little fuss.

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Ingredients:
1 pounds green beans, trimmed (both fresh and frozen work!)
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons shallots, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (half of a small lime)
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice (half of a orange)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

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Bring water to a boil in a large pan and add the green beans with a pinch of salt. Cook the beans for 5 minutes. They’ll still be a bit firm, but fully cooked – then drain.

Combine the shallots, olive oil, lime juice, orange juice, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and whisk together.

In a large skillet over low heat, add the beans and the dressing mix together. Stir well for a couple of minutes and coat all the beans. Serve and enjoy right away – or can eat later cold! bean3

Leftover Makeover Veggie Fried Quinoa

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I end up with a good amount of leftovers. Most of them get gobbled up for lunches, or occasionally breakfast. This isn’t so much a recipe, but one of my favorite ways to repurpose quinoa. I’d been out hiking in the afternoon and came back hungry, and saw this needed to get used up. I really dislike wasting food and I try to have as little food waste as possible. When frozen veggies are on sale at the store I stock up and save for dishes like this.

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Ingredients:
4 cups cooked quinoa
2 cups veggies fresh or frozen works (for this I used a bag of frozen stir fry veggies)
2 eggs, scrambled
2 tablespoons gluten free soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated

left2Over medium heat, add the eggs into the pan. Scramble them up and break them into small pieces. Add the quinoa into the pan.

left3Add the veggies, soy, and ginger. Mix well and cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes until everything is cooked, but veggies are still firm. Serve and eat right away, with as much quinoa as I had this because another full dinner that was ready in about 15 minutes, and could have fed 4.

Mango Rice Pudding

mango2My mother loves rice pudding, so this was more for her than anything. She told me stories about how her mother made it for them as children, growing up on the farm. I enjoy mango but I don’t get to eat them often. I had so many ideas for what fruit to add into this – but chose the mango to celebrate summer. I haven’t indulged in a dessert in awhile, and this seemed the perfect way to do so. This can be served right away warm, or chilled. We both enjoyed it while warm, I couldn’t wait to eat this with how great it smelled!

mango3Ingredients:
6 cups whole milk
1 cup rice (rinsed well)
2 tablespoons cinnamon (or can use 2 cinnamon sticks)
1 teaspoon salt
1 14 oz can condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ripe mango, peeled, seeded, and chopped

Optional: Most rice puddings use raisins. Add 1/2 cup if you’d like them.

mango4Put the milk in a medium sized pot with the cinnamon and salt. Bring to a light boil, and add the rice. Reduce heat and stir frequently for about 25-30 minutes, until the rice has become tender (Remove the cinnamon sticks if you used them).

Stir in the sweetened condensed milk and mango. Increase the heat, bring the milk to a simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. It should be starting to look creamy and thick. Be very careful to not let it boil at this stage or the milk can curdle.

mango5Remove from heat and add vanilla extract. It will start to thicken even more as it cools and absorbs the milk. Let it sit and rest for about 15 minutes then cover it and put in the fridge to cool, or if you’d like to enjoy it warm – it’s ready. Cool time will be about 4 hours. Enjoy!

 

Grilled Potato Salad

potato8bThe weather here has really warmed up again, leaving me wanting to cook outside instead of in the kitchen. I couldn’t remember the last time I’ve had a good burger, so I got some gluten free buns and beef from the store. I normally grill some asparagus as a side dish, but I wanted to do something a bit different – and use up some red potatoes.

potato1Ingredients:
2 lbs red potatoes, sliced thin
1 large green pepper, diced
1 large red pepper, diced
1/2 an onion, diced
1.5 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Dressing:
1 cup olive oil
1/3 cup vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 glove of garlic, diced

potato5Get your grill heating up and cut up the vegetables. Keep the potatoes thin, or they’ll take longer to cook. In another dish whisk together all of the dressing ingredients. Carefully pour the dressing over the vegetables and stir together, coating all the potatoes. potato2I made a tinfoil “tray” and set the vegetables in. Then wrapped it inside another layer of tinfoil to keep all the dressing inside.

potato6While the vegetables were starting to cook, we started to get the burgers ready. At about 500F, the veggies took about 45 minutes to cook. You want the potatoes to be a bit firm.

potato9What a delicious lunch this was. The dressing gave the veggies a lot of flavor and kept them from burning while cooking. Having more ways to use up the abundance of vegetables always makes me happy as well. Our garden here is small and there isn’t quite enough sunlight – but we still get a lot out of it.

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Chickpeas With Spinach

chickpeasI really like chickpeas. I also really like Greek food. So this dish delivers both of those to me, along with getting me to eat another big serving of green veggies. As much as I like salads – I need other ways to get enough veggies in my diet, and I need them to keep me full. I did make rice to go along with it, but I can eat this by itself, or with quinoa or other gluten free grains. I did enjoy it more with some feta cheese on top!

bIngredients:
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups cooked chickpeas (or 2 15oz cans)
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes (or 1 15 oz can)
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon oregano
8 cups fresh spinach (or 10 oz frozen)
1 lemon, juiced

Optional: feta cheese for sprinkling on top

aWarm up the olive oil in a large skillet for a minute, then add the onions and garlic. Cook the onions for a couple minutes until they become tender. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, oregano, and paprika. Cover and simmer it for about 10 minutes, occasionally stirring.

cAdd the spinach. I couldn’t fit it all in at a time, but I sure did try. Let some of it cook down and add in the rest. Once the spinach is all inside the skillet, add the lemon juice and cook for another 10 minutes. If your spinach is really large, feel free to tear it a bit while adding it to the pan. Sprinkle with a bit of feta cheese before serving if you’re wanting a bit more salt.

dNotes: I use fresh spinach over frozen, as it gets really watery. If you use the frozen, I’d recommend letting it thaw out a bit and letting it sit on a paper towel to get a bit of the excess water out.

 

Strawberry Oatmeal Casserole

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Some mornings you want a comforting breakfast. Warm, fills you up, and smells delicious. This makes a great way to start any day, even more so when you have other hungry mouths to feed. Fresh fruit for a bit of sweetness and hints of cinnamon are always a good way to wake up.

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Ingredients:
2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup strawberries, diced (or any berries you have on hand)
1 cup walnut pieces

2 cups milk
1 large egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 ripe banana, peeled and sliced

*Notes – I’ve added a half a cup of chocolate chips before, which works well if you want a bit more sweetness.

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Preheat your oven to 375F. Mix in a larger bowl the gluten free oats, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and half of each the strawberries and walnuts. In a medium sized bowl whisk together the milk, egg, and vanilla extract.

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In a 9×9 baking pan, add a bit of nonstick spray or rub the sides and bottom with just a touch of oil. Add the oat, berry, and nut mixture. Then add the other half of the strawberries and walnuts and cover them with the sliced bananas. Slowly pour the milk mixture on top, and give another sprinkle of cinnamon.

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Bake in the oven for about 45-50 minutes. The smell of this baking had me so hungry when it came out, I immediately cut it up and had some. Will make between 4-6 servings, and reheats well for next day no fuss breakfast!