Thursday, May 12, 2011

Quick Minestrone

6 cups beef broth
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 can low-sodium stewed tomatoes
1 1/2 cups vegetable juice
1 6-ounce can low-sodium tomato paste
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1-1/2 cups loose-pack frozen mixed vegetables (such as an Italian blend)
2 cups fresh spinach leaves, cut into strips
2 cups cooked pasta (1 cup uncooked), such as small shells or mostaccioli
Finely shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

If Serving Immediately:

In a large kettle combine broth, beans, stewed tomatoes, vegetable juice, tomato paste, sugar, and Italian seasoning. Bring to boiling. Add mixed vegetables. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add spinach and cooked pasta; heat through. To serve, ladle into bowls. If desired, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Makes 8 main-dish servings.

If Serving Next Day:

Prepare soup up to the point where frozen vegetables are cooked until tender. Remove from heat; cool quickly. Refrigerate, covered, overnight. To serve, reheat soup over medium heat. Stir in spinach and cooked pasta. Heat through.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

French Onion Soup

When its cold outside, there is nothing better than a rich beef broth simmered with onion petals and topped melted provolone cheese.  Onions are super high in iron, which thickens the blood and helps you stay warm and strong against catching a cold or the flu.

French Onion Soup

6 cups water
2 beef boullion cubes
1 TBS gravy master
1 packet Liption Onion Soup mix
2 large sweet onions
1 clove garlic, chopped
French bread
Provolone cheese

In a large pot, combine water, bouillion, gravy master, and soup mix.  Peel the outer layer off the onions, quarter them, and seperate into petals.  If the onion pieces are too small, they will cook too fast and get mushy.  Add the onions and garlic to the pot and simmer until onions are tender, transluscent, yet not too soft.  Season to taste with salt and pepper if needed.

Ladle the soup into single-serving crocks or souffle cups.  Float a thick, toasted slice of french bread on top of each serving.  Place a slice of provolone cheese over the bread, overlapping the edges of the cup.

Place in a 350 oven for 5-10 minutes to heat through, then flip on the broiler to make the cheese brown and bubbly.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Earthy, rich mushrooms bathed in creamy goodness is the perfect dish for fall.  Serve with a salad of winter greens, warm pears, and walnuts.  Don't forget the crusty french bread with butter!

Cream of Mushroom Soup

6 TBS butter
1 medium onion, minced
garlic, minced
10 oz. button mushrooms, chopped
7 TBS all purpose flour
7 cups broth
fresh parsley, chopped
thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 splash good red wine
sea salt
fresh ground pepper

In a heavy bottom pot, saute onions, garlic, and mushrooms until onions are translucent and mushrooms are soft.  Add flour and stir until flour is dissolved into the butter.

Add the broth, slowly at first, while stirring.  Add parsley.  Put the thyme and bayleaf on top and keep track of them since you will remove them later.  Simmer on low for 10 minutes.

Remove thyme and bayleaf.  Use a hand blender to puree (optional).  Whisk in cream and wine, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Leftovers?  Pour over chicken breasts and bake.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Butternut Squash Soup

I saw some diced butternut squash in a package for sale in the produce section of the grocery store, and thought - Hey!  I haven't made Butternut Squash Soup in forever.  Savory, warm, and comforting this soup is a fall favorite.  And you can sneek in a ton of vegetables without your family knowing it.

Don't fear the Butternut Squash!  Its really easy to prepare,  Just cut off the top and bottom so it will stand upright.  Use a vegetable peeler to peel from top to bottom, removing the skin.  Cut in half, remove the seeds and "guts", then dice.  Or, just buy the diced kind if you can find it.

Butternut Squash Soup

onion, medium, diced
1-2 stalks celery, diced
6-8 baby carrots, diced
minced garlic
butternut squash, peeled, seeded, diced
6 cups chicken stock

Saute the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic in the oil until onions are translucent.  Add squash and stock.  Simmer until squash and carrots are tender, about 15-20 mins.  Use a hand blender to puree the soup.  Season to taste.

Want to change it up a bit?  Try adding diced sweet potatoes or apples when you add the squash.  Or, add 1/2 cup of cream while blending.  Some people swear by garnishing with sour cream, too.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Waldorf Salad

Waldorf Salad is a simple, healthy dish that can be eaten as is, on bread as a sandwich, or even better - in a croissant. The sweet, savory, crunchy textures make it fun and fulfilling to munch.  Mmmmm!

1 apple, chopped
lemon juice
2 stalks celery, chopped
handful walnuts, chopped
handful grapes, halved
cooked chicken, cubed (optional)

Cut everything up into bite-sized pieces and mix in some mayonaise to coat lightly.  For a Thanksgiving twist, add cubed turkey and cranberries.