Fire Roasted Tomato Soup

I was given a large pile of tomatoes earlier in the week. I already have salsa in the fridge, and given it’s becoming fall now, so I wanted something warm and comforting. I decided to make them into a heart warming pot of soup. I wanted to roast the tomatoes and onions to really bring out the flavor in them. Since I wanted to keep the soup fresh and healthy I did not go with a cream based. You want to roast the tomatoes until they are starting to lightly bubble and become black. This recipe can easily become vegetarian by swapping the chicken broth out for vegetable. I think the chicken adds just a bit more flavor.

tomsoup4Ingredients:
2 pounds of tomatoes, cut in halves
1/2 white onion, sliced
1 clove garlic
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cups chicken broth
pinch of ground thyme
3-4 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Optional: Fresh Parmesan cheese to top it off

tomsoup3Set the oven to 375F. Place a piece of tin foil on a baking sheet. Set the tomatoes, onion, garlic, and 2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over the top of them. Place in the oven, allow to cook for 30-35 minutes. Watch for the tomatoes to be starting to bubble slightly and blacken. Remove from the oven.

While the tomatoes and onions are roasting and are close to done you can put a pot over medium heat. Pour the chicken broth in it, along with the fresh basil, thyme and salt and pepper. Once the tomatoes are ready, add them and the onions to the pot.

Allow the soup to cook on medium low heat until it simmers. About 20 minutes. Then use an immersion blender, or transfer the soup to a blender in batches about 2 cups at a time. Be careful if going this route, the soup will be quite hot. Once it is all blended together, pour into bowls. You can top it off with a bit more fresh basil, and some Parmesan cheese if you like. Makes 4 bowls.

tomsoup2

Fresh Mushroom Soup for Two

I love soups! They make me think of fall, the beautiful leaves, and the cooler weather. It’s not exactly cool here, but I got these lovely Crimini mushrooms at the farmer’s market. I’m a huge mushroom fan, when I make pork chops and steak, I love a big pile of sauteed mushrooms on top. They’re almost better than the main course for me! Anyways, the soup takes about a half hour to make. Since I bought a pound of mushrooms, I can make another batch of this. Cooking for two people can be tough. As much as I like leftovers, I can’t always eat all of them and need something fresh.

mush2

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 large white onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons white rice flour (pretty much any gf flour will work)
2 cups diced mushrooms (Crimini or Baby bella will work the best)
2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
salt and pepper, to taste

Over medium high heat melt the butter in a pot. Add the onions and garlic and allow the onions to soften. Add the flour and stir it in well with the onion and garlic. Next, add the mushrooms and allow them to soften. Stir in the broth, heavy cream, and some salt and pepper. Bring to a low boil, then reduce the heat to medium low. Allow it to cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve hot.

*The vegetable broth can be replaced with a chicken broth, or even water.

*The heavy cream can be replaced with milk, but I would suggest adding a bit more flour to thicken up the soup.

This will make 2 larger bowls, or 4 small bowls. You can easily multiply the recipe to make more.

Kale and Quinoa Soup

Kale and Quinoa Soup

Today I made a pot of soup. I wanted to use some of the delicious fresh vegetables that I had available. I wanted it to be hearty and filling. I also wanted it to be healthy, and I wanted something that make good leftovers. It’s not a difficult soup to make, there’s time involved in preparing the vegetables and then you just allow it to cook.

kalequinoa4

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 white onion, diced
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon rosemary
2 zucchini quartered and sliced
2 cups green beans
2 cups vegetable broth
3 cups water
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed
3 cups kale
salt and pepper, to taste

kalequinoa3

Over medium high heat put the olive oil in a dutch oven or larger pot. Add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Allow them to sweat for 3-4 minutes. Add in the green beans, zucchini, rosemary and paprika. Next, add the vegetable broth, water, and tomato sauce. Add in the rinsed quinoa and black beans. Lower the heat to a medium low and allow it to cook for about 20 minutes. Finally add in the salt, pepper, and kale. Allow to cook another 5-7 minutes stirring all the kale in and allowing it to wilt.

kalequinoa2

This will serve 6-8. Serve hot, and enjoy.

A few notes: You can use fresh or frozen beans. The quinoa is uncooked and just rinsed before going into the soup. I do remove the ribs from the kale, and shred it a bit with my hands. I added a bit of cheese on top of mine since I love cheese. I’m looking forward to enjoying it again for lunch tomorrow.

Chicken stuffed with Prosciutto, Spinach and Cheese

We’ve had to change how we eat a bit here at home. Not only do we have to be careful with the gluten, my mother is diabetic, so we watch the carbs. Tonight I made this flavorful chicken along with a salad. This made 4 servings, and I’ll have leftovers for my lunch tomorrow. The actual prep does not take long, and I was able to do other things around the house while it was in the oven.

stuffedchicken5

Ingredients:
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 slices prosciutto
1/4 cup cream cheese (whipped works best for spreading)
1 handful fresh spinach with ends cut off
dried basil (sprinkle on top of the cheese)
salt and pepper, to taste
2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Heat a skillet on medium high heat with the olive oil while you prepare the chicken, and preheat the oven to 350F.

Flatten out the chicken breasts with a meat mallet. 1/4 inch works well. Lay the prosciutto on top (I had to cut the pieces in half.) Spread the cream cheese on top of the chicken breasts and prosciutto, and sprinkle the basil on top. Lay out the fresh spinach on top of that. Carefully roll them from one end to the other. I use toothpicks to hold them together.  Sprinkle some salt and pepper on them.

stuffedchicken3Place the chicken rolls in the hot pan with the oil and brown them on the top and bottom. Brown the seam side first. If you need to adjust the toothpicks, feel free. This will just take a couple of minutes. Then, if you have a oven safe pan, you can place it right in the oven. Otherwise you will need to transfer them to a baking pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until they are fully cooked. Remove from the oven, remove the toothpicks and serve.

stuffedchicken2Serve hot, and enjoy!

 

Creamy Asparagus Soup

asparagus soupDo you have a garden full of asparagus? This recipe is great if you do, and still great if you need to make a run over to the local farmer’s market or to the store. It’s creamy, healthy, and delicious! I’m a soup fan and enjoy it year round, so a wonderful vegetarian and gluten free lunch like this is perfect. It goes great with a salad or sandwich, it’s very versatile.

asparagussoup2Ingredients:
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small shallot, chopped
1 pound fresh asparagus, cut into 1-2″ pieces
pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
juice from 1 medium lemon
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups milk

-Optional toppings: cheese, gluten free crackers or croutons.

In a large stock pot over medium heat, start the shallot and garlic in the olive oil. Allow the shallot to soften up for a couple of minutes, then add the asparagus. Season with the salt and pepper, and cook for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the lemon juice, and cook for another 3 minutes.

Add the vegetable broth and milk, and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally – bringing the soup to a low simmer. If you have an immersion blender carefully puree until the soup is completely smooth. If not, you can use a blender by scooping out a few cups at a time, blending and pouring back into the pot. If so, allow the soup to cool a bit, and be careful to not burn yourself.

Serve hot, and add any topping of choice. Enjoy.

I will note, that the asparagus got a bit “stringy” around the blades of my immersion blender, and was a bit difficult to clean. However – it was quite worth it!

Grape, Avocado, and Chopped Walnut Salad

grape saladWho doesn’t like a fresh and light summertime salad. This has fresh grapes, diced avocado, roasted walnuts, crumbled blue cheese, and a light vinaigrette. It’s perfect for an outside meal, or served along at a cookout.

Ingredients:
6 cups lightly packed mixed greens of choice
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and chopped
2 cups red seedless grapes, cut in half
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped and roasted
1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup red onion, diced

For the Vinaigrette:
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 clove of garlic, minced
pinch of salt and ground black pepper, to taste

grapesalad2Start by roasting the walnuts. Place a skillet on the stove and turn it to medium high. While allowing it to warm up, you can start preparing the greens and other items.

Keep an eye while roasting the nuts, they can burn quickly and only take 5-10 minutes. They’ll start to brown and smell toasted when ready, stir frequently.

Slice the grapes in half, Dice the onion, chop the avocado and add it to a large bowl with the greens.

Mix all the items in the vinaigrette together. When the walnuts have cooled off a bit, add them and the blue cheese to the salad and carefully pour the vinaigrette on top.

Serves 3-4. Enjoy!

Tuna Zucchini Cakes

tuna zucchini cakesThese can be an served for lunch, as a snack, an appetizer, or for a light dinner. I love the combination of tuna and fresh vegetables. I’ve used spices that don’t overwhelm, but add just a bit of flavor. So I made them for dinner and served them with a fresh salad for a lighter and fun meal. I used a gluten free panko for the breading, but any gluten free breadcrumbs will work for the recipe, I just prefer the panko myself.

tunacakesIngredients:
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 a white onion, finely diced
1 cup gluten free panko, divided
8 oz tuna in water
1 cup shredded zucchini
2 large eggs
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

tunacakes2In a skillet over medium low heat, use 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cook the diced onions until soft. While they’re starting to cook, in a large bowl start mixing together 1/2 cup of the panko (set aside the other half cup) the zucchini, the eggs, and all the spices and tuna. add in the onions after they’ve softened and then cooled enough to handle.

Turn up the heat to medium and add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil to the skillet. make the mixture into 6-8 patties, and flatten them out a bit. Roll them in the panko that was set aside and then place in the skillet. cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, until golden brown and they’re cooked throughout the middle. Makes 6-8 tuna cakes. Enjoy!

Cobb Dip

Cobb DipSince I’ve always been a fan of Cobb salad, and I wanted to make a healthier snack for us on Mother’s day, I made this delicious dip. We always have some kind of chips and dip – and I did put out a guacamole as well, but this stole the show. It’s quite flexible as well, if you want to add something or omit something, it’s forgiving. You could easily add some olives or onions if you like them, or leave out the avocado.

Ingredients:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1- 1/2 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 cup corn, grilled or cooked – then cooled
1 large tomato, diced
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/4 cup bacon, crumbled
1 avocado, pitted and diced

cobbsalad2In a medium bowl mix together the cream cheese, sour cream and all the spices. When combined, take a 9″ pie pan and spread the mixture on the bottom. Then place the chopped romaine lettuce on top. Place the rest of the toppings over the romaine lettuce. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips, or other gluten free snacks. Enjoy!

*Using either grilled corn, or frozen corn and cooking and draining, and cooling it will both work. Full fat or reduced fat sour cream and cream cheese are fine as well.

Potato, Sausage, and Spinach Soup

Potato Sausage and Spinach Soup I made a healthy, delicious soup for dinner today with plenty leftover for lunch tomorrow. There isn’t a lot of ingredients, and it’s not something you have to sit and watch – which is great when I’m trying to get several things done. Since I’ve been trying to eat healthier, I’ve tried to trim a bit of the extra calories out of my food without sacrificing taste.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound turkey sausage (or spicy Italian sausage)
salt and pepper, to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 white onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon dried sweet basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
2 pounds red potatoes, cut into 1″ pieces
3-4 cups baby spinach, roughly cut
1/2 cup half and half (or heavy cream)

saugagespinagesoup2

In a large stock pot, cook the meat with the olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper over medium heat. Drain any excess fat then add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the basil, oregano, broth, water, and potatoes and cook for 15-20 minutes, allowing the potatoes to fully soften when poked with a fork.

Finally, add the baby spinach and half and half, and stir into the soup well, then cook for 5 minutes or so, until it’s fully heated and the spinach is wilted. Serve hot. Enjoy!

Quinoa and Spinach Salad with Fresh Berries

quinoasalad1I’ve been a bit burned out with the cold and dreary weather as of late – and I wanted something cheerful to pick me up and give me that warm summertime feeling. Plus, I’d been craving fresh berries for the past couple of weeks, so I caved in and bought some. Besides just snacking on them plain, and using for oatmeal and a few other things – I wanted to make a delicious salad.

quinoasalad2Ingredients:
5 oz fresh spinach, chopped
1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 cup fresh blueberries
3 clementines, peeled and sectioned
1.5 cups cooked quinoa
3-4 tablespoons crushed walnuts

for the dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

quinoasalad3

In a bowl mix together all of the salad ingredients. Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a smaller bowl and pour overtop the salad and toss until evenly coated. Makes 3-4 larger salads. Enjoy.