“The Hunger Games” influenced recipe: Herbed Goat Cheese Bites

These “Herbed Goat Cheese Bites” are healthy and delicious little treats everyone will love.   YAY!    All I can say is “Bring on “The Hunger Games”.”  So excited we have a popular trilogy starting where food (and sadly hunger) play a central role.  So much room for creative inspiration, and mine will all focus on healthy interpretations of the many scenes where food and meals play a central role in the character’s life at the moment.

Why in the world am I doing “The Hunger Games” recipe or food interpretations? I have to admit, this time last week the last thing I thought I would be uploading was any “Hunger Games” influenced recipes.  Victor (long time boyfriend) and I are chilling out up here at his house in Lake Tahoe for awhile, so we decided at the last minute Friday to see the premiere of what seemed to be an over marketed movie, “The Hunger Games”.   We found the movie intriguing enough we decided to  download all 3 books onto our Ipads as well as downloading the entire series on audio book.  We have been listening to them together ever since on our Apple “boom box” while watching the snow fall.   Its been kind of fun. I decided to do an internet search to see if there were any sites posting “Hunger Games” recipes and there were.  Yahoo had this one and then I found on Amazon “The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook”.

These “Herbed Goat Cheese Bites” represent the morning of the “reaping day” when 2 children are chosen for the “Hunger Games”. The main character, Katniss, wakes to find goat cheese wrapped in fresh basil leaves, a gift left by her little sister Prim.   Katniss had bought her little sister an injured baby goat years before to help the family survive.    Katniss takes her sister’s gift and eats it in the meadow by the woods with her friend Gale, where they spread it on fresh bread Gale had traded a squirrel for.  In district 12, where Katniss and her family live, bread is a rarity.

I made this yesterday and it was delicious.  Is a great appetizer at a party as well.  This recipe is slightly different interpretation of a “celebrity” chef  Tyler Florence recipe featured here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon fresh flat leaf thyme
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup of finely chopped cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 8 ounce goat cheese log
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces French baguette sliced in 1/4 inch thick slices
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves

Directions:

  1. Finely chop and combine the first four  herbs listed (thyme, parsley, tarragon, mint)
  2. Roll the goat cheese log evenly in the fresh herbs and then wrap tightly in plastic.  Chill 2 to 24 hours.  I chilled mine overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 and drizzle the bread slices with olive oil and place on cookie sheet
  4. Bake at 350 degrees until browned and crispy.  Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes
  5. Remove the fresh herb goat cheese log from the fridge and spread lightly on the baguette slices
  6. Top generously with the fresh chopped tomato and basil

Serve and Enjoy!

Adapted from Tyler’s Ultimate by Tyler Florence, Southern Living
JANUARY 2009



sig

Basil Walnut Pesto

Pesto  in its traditional form is made with pine nuts, fresh basil, Parmesan cheese, garlic and olive oil. Costs for pine nuts have really increased dramatically over the years, so I just make mine with walnuts instead.  I actually think pesto tastes just as good, if not better, with walnuts, as opposed to pine nuts anyways, and some would argue walnuts are healthier  being so high on the antioxidant index.   Pesto with walnuts its also a very economical way to add some bold flavor on any budget.   The flavor is rich but filled with good fats from the olive oil and the walnuts.  It freezes well, defrosts quickly and is so versatile it can be used in sauces, on pizza and pastas, and as a big dollop of flavor on meat, seafood, poultry and veggies.   I usually will make a big recipe and then freeze in several small serving containers.  The recipe included below is a fairly generic version of the recipe.  You can blend the ingredients into a paste in a food processor, or in my case I use a high speed blender.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of packed fresh  basil leaves (found in the produce section by the fresh herbs)
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts
  • 2 cloves of minced or crushed garlic
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt (opt)

Directions:

  1. Place the basil leave, olive oil, walnuts, garlic and salt in food processor or blender
  2. Blend until thoroughly combined
  3. Add Parmesan cheese and blend 10 to 15 seconds or more
  4. Serve and enjoy, or store in freezer until ready to use

Nutrtion facts

Servings per container: 6

Calories: 213 calories per serving

Calories from fat (good fat): 188 per serving

Total carbs: 2.7

Total sugars: 1.1 g

Protein: 5.6

Total Fats: 20.9 g

 

 



sig

Havana Style Breakfast Eggs

Its no secret I LOVE eggs.  I especially love eggs with Latin flavors. If I go out to breakfast or brunch, I always order eggs.  Usually in  a scramble or poached.  At home,  for breakfast, eggs are usually my first choice.  I found this simple classic “Havana” style egg recipe awhile ago in a Latin cookbook.  This recipe is inexpensive, easy to make, and quite tasty with the eggs being nestled and then baked within a bed of tomatoes.   I topped the eggs with a little sherry and tiny sprinkle of organic cheese to round out the flavor profiles.   This can be made in one oven proof skillet or cast iron pan, or as I did in little individual baking ramekins.  If your not going gluten free,  these eggs would taste delicious with some toasted baguette bread slices.  I only made enough for 2, but you can double the recipe if you want for 4, or even triple for 6.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of neutral oil
  • 1/2 of a white or yellow onion (I prefer sweet yellow onions)
  • 1 to 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 of a red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 Roma or Heirloom tomatoes seeded and diced (if desperate you can used 1/2 cup canned chopped tomatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • fresh ground sea salt and pepper
  • 2 to 4 large eggs (if 4 eggs, bake 2 eggs per individual baking dish I only do 1)
  • Optional: shredded organic cheese
  • Optional tobasco or hot sauce sauce for a little spicy heat

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree
  2. Heat a cast iron or oven proof skillet over medium and heat oil
  3. Add onion and garlic and saute, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes until slightly soft
  4. Add chopped bell pepper, saute for 2 to 3 until soft
  5. Stir in tomatoes and cook until the mix thickens
  6. Shake in the optional tabasco or “hot sauce” for a little spicy heat
  7. Add about 1 tablespoon of the sherry (saving the remaining for drizzling) , stir and allow to heat all the way through.  Aprox 3 to 4 minutes
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste
  9. To bake individually (as shown in photo) transfer the tomato mix to 2 ramekins or little baking dishes, making a little shallow well in the tomato mixture with the back of your spoon.
  10. Break the eggs individually into a small dish or bowl, and then carefully slip /transfer the egg into the well within the tomato mixture in the baking ramekin or dish
  11. Drizzle the eggs with an optional touch of sherry and a sprinkling of shredded cheese
  12. NOTE:  If baking in one pan, form 2 to 4 wells within the tomato mixture and use the same method as described above
  13. Bake eggs uncovered, until eggs are done to your liking, about 10 minutes for a soft to runny yolk.
  14. Serve and enjoy

Adapted from “Essentials of Latin Cooking” by Williams Sonoma, I could not find the publishing year,  228 page

 



sig

Mediterranean Frittata 2 ways: Vegetarian and with Bacon

I adapted this fast, easy frittata from this blog “My Kitchen Addiction”, and the Bacon, Leek and Arugula frittata.  You can do this two ways, with bacon or without, I prefer with bacon.  I love how the tomatoes make it look like a little pizza.   You can replace the arugula with spinach if you like.   I roasted some cherry tomatoes to top it off and give it some extra color, flavor and nutrition.   I thought it looked kind of boring without the tomatoes on top to give it some color.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 slices uncured bacon chopped
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (red would work too)
  • 2 cups arugula (remove stems) or spinach
  • 3 whole eggs plus 3 extra egg whites
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup  feta cheese cheese (its up to you)
  • a basket pint) of roasted cherry tomatoes (red or yellow… your choice)
  • Optional : a tablespoon of milk or cream
  • Sea Salt and Ground Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. For optional “Roasted Cherry Tomatoes”: roast cherry tomatoes, halved, tossed with olive oil and salt and pepper at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or so until soft and wrinkly, shaking to turn halfway, remove from oven and set aside
  2. Turn on broiler
  3. Whisk eggs and egg whites in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, set aside
  4. Heat ovenproof non stick skillet to medium and saute bacon pieces until cooked  * For vegetarian skip this and just heat olive oil to medium high
  5. Add the onions to the olive oil or rendered bacon fat until soft
  6. Add the arugula (or spinach) until it wilts down
  7. reduce heat to medium low, pour in eggs, and quickly stir with the bacon, onions and greens
  8. Sprinkle with the feta and then cover for about 5 minutes
  9. remove the lid and arrange the roasted tomatoes on top, place under broiler for 3 to 5 minutes until the eggs set and are no longer runny.

Serve and Enjoy!

Serving suggestions: I topped this with chopped avocado, olives and sour cream for my boyfriend who doesn’t care about calories.  Its healthy that way and tastes really good.

 



sig

Healthy Sante Fe Style Sweet Potato, Veggie and Chile Frittata

 

 


A frittata can be an incredibly healthy egg dish made mainly on the stove.  For starters I love eggs so much its kind of a joke with my friends and family.  I can come up with almost any excuse to eat eggs at almost any meal.  Cooking a frittata is much easier than an omelet, and can be used as a  vehicle for almost any kind of veggie, cheese, protein, herb or spice you happen to have around. Frittatas  are traditionally served in pie shaped wedges, kind of like a deep dish pizza, and are easily transportable – in Italy it’s common to take a wedge to work for lunch. I love their versatility, the endless number of ingredient combinations and the fact that a frittata  can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack.  Since its just my boyfriend and I here, I usually make one big deep dish style frittata, in an oven proof non stick pan. (usually a 12 inch  pan) I layer my favorite  ingredients of the day (usually with a lot of sauteed greens), aromatics/ herbs, and  spices and then pour the eggs on over them all and let it set. This size dish can provide several  meals and stores well covered in the fridge for up to 3 or 4 days.

I almost always make my frittatas as flavorful and nutritious as possible, which is really easy to do by cranking up the veggie content, the aromatics, and by using less egg yolks and more whites if you choose.  This particular frittata’s flavor combination reflects my love of southwestern food.

The recipe, ingredients and directions below are exactly how I cooked my breakfast today.  I usually make all my frittatas with more  egg whites than whole egg .  I did include the directions for this recipe for the “regular” version of this dish, which is still extremely healthy on its own.  As a rule of thumb, I almost always add as many different veggies and ingredients as possible, for a more nutritionally dense and balanced meal.  I love potatoes for breakfast but but don’t eat them very often since they are a starchy carbohydrate with not much nutritional value, but sweet potatoes are a much more nutritionally complex version of their not so healthy cousin and play well off of the southwestern flavors in this dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb sweet potatoes, peeled  and cut into 1/2 to 1/4 inch cubes
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup white or yellow onion chopped
  • 1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper (I prefer yellow) chopped
  • 2  fresh serrano or 1 Anaheim chile, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 2 fresh jalapenos, cored , seeded, and minced (Optional)
  • one small can (aprox 4 ounces) of diced roasted green chile peppers
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 1/2 cups of chopped or sliced white mushrooms (Optional)
  • 1 cups of yellow or green zucchini chopped (Optional)
  • 1 small any color tomato seeded and chopped ( Optional)
  • 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar,  pepper jack , Monterey jack  (optional: 1  cup of shredded cheese for much more flavor, yet more calories and fat)
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh or dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice or if desperate bottle lime juice
  • 5 whole eggs plus 5 additional  egg whites ( optional higher calorie version use 8 whole eggs)
  •  Optional adds:  8 to 12  ounces chopped organic spicy lean sausage
  • Optional serving suggestions: a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, healthy guacamole, or cilantro stems for garnish

Directions:

  • Adjust top oven rack – with a skillet (ovenproof!) on it, you want the top of the skillet to be 4-6 inches from the broiler. Turn on broiler
  • Cooked the diced sweet potato in salted boiling water for 3 minutes then drain them, or just nuke them in the microwave whole until tender and then dice them. (I’ll admit I totally did the fast “cheater” way in the the microwave.  Its much easier)
  • In a large, aprox 12 inch, non stick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat, and saute over medium heat the chopped onion, chopped peppers, diced fresh and canned chiles, stirring frequently for about 20 minutes until soft and onions are light brown. Then add the fresh minced garlic and chopped fresh Jalapenos, stir and set aside onto plate.
  • While chiles and onions are cooking take eggs and whites (or just whole eggs), crack them in a big bowl and whisk together until well mixed.  Set aside and return attention to stove.
  • Return non stick skillet to heat and add 1 more tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil until hot.  Add optional  chopped mushrooms and zucchini until barely soft and set aside on plate with chiles and onion
  •  Add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil  to skillet over medium heat and add the sweet potatoes, stirring frequently and cook until the edges begin to turn light brown (7 to 10 minutes).

  • Then add plate to the now slightly browned potatoes the set aside plate of  cooked chiles, onions, and veggies back to skillet along with fresh chopped tomato, and optional chopped sausage, cooking until all is warmed through.
  • Stir in cilantro, lime juice,  salt  and pepper to taste. (about 2 teaspoons each of salt and pepper)
  • Add 1/2 of the cheese mixture to the eggs before pouring  egg/cheese mixture over the cooked veggies in the skillet until its evenly distributed throughout.
  • Continuing at medium heat, cook eggs for about 2 minutes, scraping the sides and bottom with heat-resistant spatula. When eggs are mostly cooked but still very wet, stop stirring. You want to see cooked egg scattered throughout, but loose egg in between.
  • Continue cooking on stove for another minute so underside sets.
  • Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top. Put skillet under broiler. Watch carefully while top browns. This will take 2-4 minutes
  • Remove skillet from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes to finish cooking in center.
  • Cut in wedges and serve either directly from skillet
  •  Optional:  for a prettier family style service style, place a plate on top of the skillet about 15 minutes after egg has time to cool down, and flip the skillet and the plate over at the same time, so egg  holds it shape when you remove the skillet to serve at the dinner table.  Similar to how you would flip and serve an upside down cake.
  •  For serving suggestions,top each wedge sized serving with sliced avocado, guacamole, salsa, a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, and or cilantro sprigs.

Each large wedged size serving contains aprox 350 calories each,  is nutritionally dense and packed with about 12  grams of protein, lots of healthy carbohydrates and healthy fat.

 

 

 


 



sig

“Test Kitchen”: Low fat Spicy Tomato Arugula Angel Hair Pasta

 

This is my first in what I will call my “Test Kitchen” Series.  I’ll be trying out recently published recipes from blogs or magazines and following them exactly as they are printed.  Then I’ll post my notes and give it a “will try again” or “will not try again”.

I found this recipe on the Facebook scroll of Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s blog last week.  A  link to the recipe here.   It sounded really good, healthy, loaded with veggies, and I had all the ingredients on hand.  And while the recipe was easy and it stored well, I really doubt I’ll make it again.  It tasted like any random pasta with tomato sauce made of canned tomatoes, and I never normally use canned tomatoes, and now I know why.  I don’t like the taste of canned tomatoes unless they are used in a  large pasta  sauce recipe and then simmered for several hours with a lot of other ingredients, herbs and spices.

I initially tried this dish with a new kind of quinoa angel hair pasta which after making it, I realized, it wasn’t very good.  I have another brand of quinoa pasta I use and like, but for whatever reason, this particular brand, or maybe just quinoa angel hair pasta, was not good this evening.  So I used my back up multi grain whole wheat pasta which I know to be good

Spicy Tomato-Arugula Angel Hair Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 yellow tomatoes, diced
  • 3 red tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 lb of dried angel hair pasta (I used multi grain pasta)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped
  • 3 shallots chopped
  • 1 14 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup of chopped arugula
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chopped oregano
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  •  Anaheim chiles, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  • Place the yellow tomatoes and red tomatoes in a large bowl.  Sprinkle with the sea salt and let sit for 40 minutes
  • Bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 4 minutes.  Strain and rinse.  Set aside
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the garlic and shallots and saute until the shallots are softened.  3 to 4 minutes.  Add the crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer.  Cook for 5 minutes
  • Toss the sauce with the pasta, the salted tomatoes, the arugula,pepper, oregano, red pepper flakes and chiles and heat until warmed through.  Season with salt and sprinkle with the Parmesan.  Serve immediately.

My notes if making this again: Use a lot more arugula or spinach, omit canned tomatoes, used more fresh tomatoes, use some chopped up yellow and orange bell peppers sauteed with the garlic and the shallots, use more herbs and spices, angel hair pasta does not taste good made with quinoa.

My conclusions: I have so many other tomato pasta sauce recipes I like that I would probably not make this again.

 

 



sig

Roasted Carrots with Rosemary

I just love admiring carrots at the Farmer’s Markets, and they are one of the veggies that I consistently add to my cart at the grocery store.  They are super versatile and easy to work with.  They also have a long shelf life so even if I can’t use them right away, I know they will still taste great 5 days later.  Carrots are extremley rich  in Vitamin A and beta carotene as well as having natural anti inflammatory benefits.

On a funny note, my boyfriend is kind of obsessive compulsive, and for some reason,  has been currently obsessed with carrots for the past few months.  We live near a muti purpose grocery store with an amazing produce section, and lately he keeps coming home with bushels of carrots.  And when I say “bushels” he comes home with the whole “kit and caboodle” of the carrots: with the 2 foot long stems on them.  I tell him “You can have the long stems cut off buy the check out clerk or I’ll cut them off right now with some shears”.  But “NOoooooo” he does not want the long stems cut off until he eats them.  So basically we have what looks like a spider plant living in our fridge until he (the boyfriend) decides to eat them.  He  just loves eating them as snacks  while watching TV or working on the computer.  Lately when I go to the store,  he is always reminding me  “Don’t forget to get me some carrots, and only the real kind.  The kind with the stems”.  I have no idea why all of a sudden he has just become obsessed with eating raw carrots (with stems on, god forbid we cut them off first) all the time, but he is obsessed.  I’m not complaining since they are healthy, I just think its kind of funny or aka: weird. ( He will probably be very annoyed with me if he reads this.)

A few days ago my boyfriend came home with the above photographed,  multi colored carrots, and I thought they were way too pretty just to snack on raw, so I told him I would cook them.  He tried the cooked ones from this recipe and gave it a big thumbs up.

Ingredients:

  • Small bushel of carrots (Aprox 7 to 10) washed, greens cut to 1 inch from top of carrots, peeled
  • 1 medium red or yellow onion quartered
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh or dried rosemary
  • Olive oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 415 degrees
  2. Toss carrots, onion, and rosemary with olive oil.
  3. Lay out on a tin foil rimmed baking pan
  4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper
  5. Roast for aprox 40 minutes until carrots are browned and soft enough to pierce through with a fork



sig

Moroccan Quinoa Pilaf

I first made this pilaf with chef Rebecca Katz , author of the “Cancer Fighting Kitchen”, during a cooking class  of hers I attended last February at the Draegers Cooking School.  The photo above  was taken at that class. The pilaf was served with orange citrus chicken and kale with sweet potato.

I was only recently introduced to quinoa a few years ago,  and this is my favorite  recipe.  Quinoa is a really great source of protein, as that  it is a “complete” protein, containing all the essential amino acids we need to get through our diet.

I love Middle Eastern and Northern Africa flavor profiles, and they  work especially well with quinoa. This dish would be a great side to my North African Lamb Chops recipe.  The cinnamon, ginger, cumin, and turmeric spices take me back to the first time I ever tried Moroccan food when I was young.

I make this all the time, because its fast, easy, and a great snack to make ahead and keep in the fridge. I used carrots, fennel and yellow crook neck squash in this particular preparation, as that those were the veggies I had on hand today, but this recipe tastes especially good with toasted almond slices, onions and raisins.  To really brighten up the final product, I squeezed half a lemon on it and sprinkled a little fresh mint. Chef Rebecca was kind enough to give me permission to to reprint this recipe in full.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  Thanks Rebecca!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons shallots finely diced
  • 1 medium size fennel bulb
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced small
  • 1 cup dry organic quinoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 3/4 cups of filtered water or vegetable stock
  • sea salt to taste
  • Optional: 1 yellow crook neck squash
  • Optional: 1/4 cup of fresh chopped mint or parsley

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat and then add the shallot, fennel, carrot, and a pinch of salt and saute, stirring occasionally with a spoon for about 3 minutes until the vegetables start to sweat.
  2. Stir in the quinoa, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, ginger, and cardamom, then stir in vegetable stock or filtered water, a pinch of salt and bring to a boil
  3. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the liquid has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender.
  4. If you decided on using the crook neck squash: saute the squash in olive oil over medium heat for about 4 to 5 minutes until tender.  Set aside until quinoa is done cooking
  5. Remove quinoa from heat and fluff with a fork, then add the optional squash and parsley or mint
  6. Do a quick taste and if you want, add a quick squeeze of lemon juice to add some acid or “amp” up the flavor
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Notes:

  • Will stay fresh stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days
  • Nutrition Per Serving:  Calories: 270; Fat: 10 grams; Carbohydrates: 39 grams, Protein: 8 grams


sig

Mock “Creamy Mint English Pea Soup”

 

I decided to make this when I was at the Farmer’s Market this past Sunday, and one of the farmer’s had gorgeous baskets of these fresh peas already shucked.  I was planning a dinner for my boyfriend’s mom’s house that night and figured this would be perfect.  This recipe is super fast and easy to make, especially when you’re pressed for time.  From star to finish, this recipe only took me about 30 minutes to make.

You can use fresh peas (or even frozen peas) and to add the creamy flavor I used non fat Greek yogurt. It’s a great way to crank up the protein, while at the same time adding a really nice sophisticated dimension  of creaminess. Also, adding fresh lemon really brightens up the entire flavor profile.  This recipe is only for 2 servings, but just double or triple it if you need extra.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of chopped shallots
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 cups fresh shelled English peas or frozen peas
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups of fat free chicken broth (store bought ) or chicken stock
  • 1/4  cup fresh mint (or your desired level of “mint flavor”)
  • 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup fat free Greek Yogurt
  • fresh squeeze of half of one lemon (preferably Meyers)
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • *Optional: 2 tsp of low fat buttermilk or non fat milk

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat,  add shallots, and garlic.  Cook until both are soft 6 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently.  They should not brown if this begins to happen,  turn down heat to low.
  2. Add peas, 1/2 of the mint, and broth, and fill with chicken broth to right above the top of the peas.
  3. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium low, simmer until the peas are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Let pea mixture cool for a couple of minutes and then puree in batches in the blender until smooth.
  5. Wait for peas to cool a bit more, add a bit of Greek yogurt until reaching desired creaminess.
  6. Add the remaining amount of fresh mint to your desired taste (I only added a little bit)
  7. Squeeze some of the fresh lemon juice from the half lemon to your desired  taste
  8. Return mixture to the soup pot and gently reheat, making sure not to bring to a boil or the yogurt will curdle.
  9. For the presentation like in my photo, use buttermilk or any type of milk in a spoon and drizzle in a spiral.
  10. Serve and enjoy!

*Notes: Approx Nutrition per serving:  140 Calories, 10 grams of Protein, 17 grams of Carbohydrates, 1 gram of Fat, 2 grams of Sugar



sig

White Bean Kale Soup 2 Ways: Vegetarian or with Pancetta/Sausage

 

 

I got the idea for this recipe from the website “A Cozy Kitchen”, that posted some gorgeous succulent photos of this dish on their Facebook page.  They featured it “French Onion Style”, with croutons and melted cheese over it.  Neither my boyfriend nor I are gluten sensitive (yes, we were both tested), but for some reason I’ve never been into bread in my soup.  “A Cozy Kitchen’s” version was a knock off of  a recipe in Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook “My Father’s Daughter”, which I hadn’t really even thought of buying after seeing numerous articles circulating, making fun of some of the really unintentionally funny comments she had made in her book.  The basic premise of the recipe itself was pretty straightforward and simple, but after having made it, and then tooling around with it, there were some definite changes on my part.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 to 2 fennel bulbs (I love fennel so I use 2) stems and fronds removed, thinly sliced
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • Generous  shake of red chile flakes (I like spice so I went with lots)
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano (Gwyneth’s recipe calls for this amount, but I say use generous serving of mixed Italian dried seasonings)
  • (2) 15 ounce cans cannellini beans rinsed and drained (use canned to save time)
  • 2 pints of non fat chicken or vegetable stock (I used more because I love lots of broth)
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Optional:

  • 1/3 cup pancetta or organic spicy sausage, chopped added in at same time as the garlic
  • 1 cup chopped carrots added in about halfway through the onion/ fennel cooking process

Directions:

  1. Heat Olive Oil in a large heavy soup pot over medium heat.  Add the fennel and onion and saute for about 15 minutes until the moisture and sugar sweats out and is slightly caramelized.
  2. Optional: Add in chopped carrots at about 7 minutes in if you choose to use them… I like the color they add.
  3. Also Optional: When the fennel and onions are almost done cooking add in the chopped pancetta or sausage and stir until cooked
  4. Add the chile flakes, dried Italian herb mix, and pepper and cook for a minute or two
  5. Add the rinsed beans and stock, bring to a boil, and lower to a simmer, add salt to taste.
  6. My recipe adjustment, after adding the beans and broth and allowing to boil then simmer, I added in the chopped head of kale around 25 minutes and allowed the kale to cook for it seemed like at least 10 minutes, but the desired result is really up to the chef.  More cooking, less crunchy kale.  I suggest tasting the kale’s crunchiness,  while its cooking until its to your desired liking.  Its a tough little plant so don’t be fearful you’ll accidentally over cook it really quickly, that takes a long time.  It also holds up surprisingly well stored as left overs in the fridge overnight or even for a couple days without getting soggy.  Like I said, it’s a tough little plant!
  7. Dish up and serve warm, sprinklingwith shredded Parmesan cheese.  The cheese really rounds out the flavor profile.

 


*Note: Originally, the recipe called for cooking it for an hour, but I was afraid the beans would be too mushy, as that they were already from a can.  Additionally it said to stir in the kale leaves at the end and let cook for 2 -3 minutes, but if you’re like me, I don’t like really crunchy kale in my soup, I prefer it more “al dente”.

*Additional Notes: Another suggestion, if you really want to make this a hearty soup, is to add in some cooked sausage or organic chorizo towards the end.  I had this both ways, vegetarian style (which was delish and super low fat) and with some added animal protein.  I really did prefer it with the chopped pancetta cooked in with the fennel and onion and with some added spicy sausage at the end.  Whichever you like is up to you.  Both are super healthy, and as long as you choose lower fat organic sausage, the meat version is low in fat and healthy as well.

“Manly eating” meat-eater guys even love this!  My boyfriend scarfed down a huge bowl of it day 2 in the fridge and said “This still tastes awesome”

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


sig