Green Vegetable Soup

Cold weather, new soup.  Went for one I saw in Cooking Light — Green Vegetable Soup.

 Ingredients

3/4 cup uncooked orzo
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced leeks (about 2) (used frozen ones from Trader Joe’s)
1 cup thinly sliced celery (didn’t use this because I didn’t feel like getting a whole head of celery)
1 tablespoon minced garlic, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 1/4 cups unsalted chicken stock
1 cup water
3 thyme sprigs (went for dry)
1 cup frozen green peas
1 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1/4 pound) (used frozen ones from Trader Joe’s)
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups baby spinach leaves, divided (used frozen ones from Trader Joe’s)
1/4 cup basil leaves
2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

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Preparation

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.

2. While pasta cooks, heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 2 teaspoons oil; swirl to coat. Add leeks, celery, 2 teaspoons garlic, and salt; sauté 5 minutes. Add stock, 1 cup water, and thyme. Cover; bring to a boil. Add peas and beans, and simmer, uncovered, 4 minutes. Discard thyme. Stir in pasta and 1 cup spinach.

3. Place 1 cup spinach, basil, cheese, rind, juice, 1 teaspoon garlic, and 2 teaspoons oil in a food processor; process until smooth. Divide soup among 4 bowls; top with pesto. (I didn’t make this part).

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This stuff was ok.  I think there was way too much orzo in there.  Nothing to write home about.  It was missing a lot of flavor, thought that could be because I didn’t make the pesto.  I’m not keeping the recipe.

 

 

 

Some tahini here, some lemon there, and kale everywhere!

Had some friends over for dinner and was going on an Asian theme.  Was making some stir-fry like chicken dish and was looking for a salad to go with it.  I found a great Cooking Light recipe to pair with it based on a whole page of kale salad ideas they had.

I went with the Tahini-Lemon Dressing — quick, easy and refreshing!

Ingredients

1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon tahini
2 teaspoons lower-sodium soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6 cups thinly sliced stemmed Lacinato kale
3/4 cup cooked quinoa (I did not include this)
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Prep:
Combine water, lemon juice, olive oil, tahini, soy sauce, and pepper in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.
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Add kale (and cooked quinoa; toss) — I did this in a more normal salad way.  After making the dressing, I dressed the salad/kale.
IMG_2130[1]Delicious, I’m addicted.  I’ve made it twice since they’ve been over.  And the dressing keeps/holds well, so you can make a good amount and just keep it in the fridge.

Grapefruit and Hearts of Palm Salad

Found this recipe in Cooking Light and it just sounded so good.  Many of my favorite ingredients.  It just doesn’t seem like something that would be published in a winter issue (Jan/Feb) but I’m happy it was.

Grapefruit and Hearts of Palm Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil (I used olive oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lime rind
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon canola mayonnaise (nixed that)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups baby kale (I chopped it)
  • 1 1/2 cups ruby red grapefruit sections (about 2 large grapefruit)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans hearts of palm, rinsed, drained, and cut diagonally into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 small red chile, seeded and thinly sliced (I just used pepper flakes)
  • 1 ripe peeled avocado, cut into thin wedges

IMG_1986[1]Directions

1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a small bowl; stir with a whisk until smooth.

2. Place 2/3 cup kale on each of 6 plates. Arrange grapefruit sections, onion, hearts of palm, chile, and avocado evenly over kale. Drizzle with dressing. (ok, I didn’t make it that fancy — tossed all that stuff in a bowl and dressed it).

IMG_1989[1]So good!  Served it with some pan-seared scallops.  I could eat this every night.

Asparagus Salad with Manchego and Almonds

As I continue going through some Cooking Light recipes, the next one I tried was an awesome asparagus salad.  The proper title — Shaved Asparagus Salad with Manchego and Almonds.  What was unique about this is that the asparagus is raw.  I can count on less than one hand the amount of times I’ve eaten un-cooked asparagus.  Game on!  When I made this, I did not add the egg because of everything else I was making for dinner, I didn’t need that extra bit of protein/food.

Asparagus1Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar (I used tarragon vinegar because I didn’t want to buy a fresh bottle of sherry vinegar just for this and that’s what I had on hand)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons walnut oil (again, didn’t want to buy something new, so used some sesame oil)
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic (of course I used more than that!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound large asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1 ounce Manchego cheese, shaved (about 1/4 cup)

Directions

  1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.
  2. Using a sharp peeler, thinly peel asparagus to equal 3 cups asparagus ribbons. Add asparagus and parsley to bowl; toss gently to coat.  *They make this sound SO easy.  Not so much.  With a carrot, yet, but with a smaller asparagus spear/stalk, not so much.  After awhile on each one, I’d stop and just throw a larger piece in the  bowl.
  3. *THIS IS THE PART I DIDN’T DO*  Combine 8 cups water and white vinegar in a large skillet; bring to a simmer. Break each egg into a custard cup, and pour each gently into pan. Cook 3 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Remove eggs from pan using a slotted spoon.
  4. Place about 2/3 cup asparagus mixture on each of 4 plates. Sprinkle each serving with 1 1/2 teaspoons almonds; top each serving with 1 egg. Sprinkle evenly with Manchego cheese.  *I don’t get this fancy.  I tossed everything in a bowl.

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It was DELICIOUS!  Crisp, fresh and some nice tang with all the flavors.  Highly recommend it!  I can’t decide if next time I’m going to try cutting the asparagus with a mandolin or V-slicer or cutting them in half and using the food processor with the proper blade.  I just need to hope the hit the blade horizontally to slice properly.  Though, I guess even if not, they’ll taste the same!

Christmas Eve Posole

This year I am celebrating Christmas with my family in a new location and we did something new for Christmas Eve dinner.  We went to their neighbor’s house for a laid-back, several-family gathering.  The main dish was a seafood bisque and I offered to bring a non-dairy dish because of my lactose intolerance.  I hadn’t had posole for awhile, it just sounded good, it’s quick and easy and with the wind howling around here in CO my mind was set.

I have relied on Cooking Light’s recipe for quite awhile and just had to quickly pull it up.

Ingredients:

1 pound tomatillos — I always just use a big jar of green salsa
6 cups chicken stock
2 cups chopped onion
3 pounds chicken breast halves, skinned
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and quartered (I’m a wimp for heat, use 1)
1 (30-ounce) can white hominy, drained
1 teaspoon salt

(These are toppings)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream $
8 lime wedges

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The hardest part of this at the start is chopping the onions (just makes me cry…).

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After they’re chopped, you just throw them, the chicken stock, chicken breasts, garlic, jalapeno, hominy and salt into a pot and bring it to a boil then let it simmer for 30+ minutes until the chicken is cooked.

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Then, you take the chicken out and shred it.  And while you’re shredding it, you’ve added the tomatillos (or salsa) to the pot.

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After the chicken is shredded, throw it back in there, heat everything through.

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Then serve with cilantro, chips and sour cream, if you’d like.  Great addition to dinner!!  There was not much left at all.

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Cold Weather = Hot Stew

The nerve of November to bring cold weather!  It has gotten me in the hot soup/stew mood and I finally made some the other night.  I flipped through several cookbooks and recipe binders I have and found one that I couldn’t remember if I’d made before so checked it out.  So Monday night I crafted some of Cooking Light’s Dijon Chicken Stew with Potatoes and Kale.

It took a good hour+ and was well worth it.  First, the aroma of leeks and garlic made my mouth water then the simmering for ‘way too long’ made it nice and warm in my apartment.  When I got my first taste, despite my tongue getting burnt (OW!), very tasty!  The recipe says it’s 6 servings and that is a good call.  I have been enjoying leftovers for lunch all week.

My next thought for soup/stew is either posole or a lemon-type soup a friend gave me a recipe for a couple years back.

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April Supper Club

A long time  ago I was looking to join a supper club/cooking club and was very fortunate to have someone reply to my post on Cooking Light and she said ‘we have dinner on Sunday, this is the theme, feel free to come.’  Almost a decade has passed since then.  It’s been amazing!

In the club I am part of, we try to meet about once a month.  The host picks the theme, obviously provides the venue, the drinks (wine, beer, soda, etc), and everyone brings a dish.  We try to use Cooking Light recipes but it can vary a bit.  I tend to use others because Cooking Light isn’t always the lightest.  And since I’m lactose intolerant, I can’t find the best ones there.  What I laugh at a lot is our ‘cooking light’ idea — yeah, everybody eats what everybody brings — we eat so light by the time we consider portions.  It’s awesome!  It’s homemade, it has no calories.  Just like birthday cake, right?

I was the host for this month and the theme I chose was April Observances — it is crazy how many things are observed.  From the ‘normal’ ones like major holidays, to significant ones like Breast Cancer Awareness Month (yes I know it’s not in April).  But, did you know that April is Tomatillo and Asian Pear Month, and it also has International Macaroni Day in the calendar on the 23rd.  Where do these come from?

Well, I opted for that tomatillo and pear observance that I mentioned.  I found a Charred Tomatillo Guacamole recipe to try, as well as a Crunchy Pear Salsa.

To the kitchen I go…

Salsas

 

 

 

 

 

In the guacamole, I had some decent size tomatillos so roasted them for about 20 minutes, vs. about 12-15.  Then when mixing everything together, carefully picked out the tomatillo skin because it just sort of sat in the bowl.

In the pear salsa, I was going to substitute Asian pears for the Bosc, because of the observance, but had no luck finding them.  Had to stick to the darn recipe!!  I didn’t use too much of the (hot) pepper because it can get supper spicy.

I served both of them with lime tortilla chips and baked tortilla chips.

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Come of the end of the night, there was none of either of these left.

As for the rest of dinner, some of the other dishes that made an appearance included:

-a Chicken & Brussel Sprout dish with some type of grain mustard accent (Brussel Sprouts and Cabbage Month)

-Grilled Cheese (National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Month)

-Pecan Pie with Whiskey Whipped Cream! (National Pecan Month)

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Didn’t have a chance to take a picture of the Pecan Pie because we ate it so fast!!

Overall, great dinner once again.  Can’t wait for the next time we get together to see what the meal brings.