Posts Tagged ‘cook’

Tuscan White Bean Soup

| Cooking

This Tuscan White Bean Soup is absolutely incredible. It's thick and creamy and brimming with flavor. Protein packed and healthy - it's a must try!

Tuscan White Bean Soup

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I L.O.V.E. soup!!! I don’t know why exactly but this obsession started about 6-7 years. Whoa, as I just typed that sentence I had a flashback – actually, I take back that former statement…I do know how this obsession started.

A few years after having my daughter I realized that I really hadn’t lost all my baby weight. I think for the first while after having a child you’re so deep into mommyhood that you barely have time to even look in the mirror. I woke up one morning and had a serious look at myself and decided it was time to do battle.

Overall, I’ve been fortunate enough that my weight hasn’t really been a huge issue prior in my life so diets had never entered my realm of existence. I was too embarrassed to ask friends what their experiences had been – I was determined to do this on my own without anyone knowing. Enter Weight Watchers. I had known a few people who had experienced really great success with this program and knew I needed something to keep me accountable. I really didn’t need to lose a ton of weight – I just didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin and knew I was past my own personal comfort zone. I signed up in the early fall and by Christmas, I had surpassed my goal weight by about 5 pounds – victory!!!

Now, getting back to our soup… I feel like my weight loss success was mostly due to getting a handle on portion control but also altering my typical eating habits, in particular, my lunches. I used to eat out or have huge leftovers for lunches. Instead, I switched up my lunches by taking homemade soup to work every day for my lunch. My go-to lunches were my homemade Chicken noodle, roasted butternut squash soup or vegetable soups.

Now, years down the road from my initial foray into soups, that lunch time soup habit has stuck. I was looking for a new soup that had lots of protein but that didn’t involve meat and I discovered bean soups. Now, I have to tell you, this Tuscan White Bean Soup is absolutely incredible. It’s thick and creamy and brimming with flavor. Honestly, it’s outstanding! I’ve made this soup for a number of people now and they always ask for the recipe. So, without further ado, here’s my Tuscan White Bean Soup.

TUSCAN WHITE BEAN SOUP RECIPE

Modified from Giada De Laurentiis’s recipe here.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp of sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 small potatoes, cubed and parboiled
  • 2 sage leaves
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans/white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups of low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable stock)
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 tbsp parmesan or asiago cheese
  • 4 pieces of bacon or back bacon cooked and diced into small pieces
  • 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place a medium, heavy soup over medium heat. Add the butter, olive oil, potatoes, and shallot. Cook, stirring occasionally until the shallots soften.
  2. Add sage, sun-dried tomatoes and beans – stir and combine.
  3. Add the stock and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the garlic and simmer until the garlic has softened, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Pour the soup into a large bowl. Carefully ladle 3/4 (or all if you don’t want any full beans) of the soup into a blender and puree until smooth – make sure to hold the lid tightly on the blender while pureeing the beans.
  5. Pour the blended soup back into the soup pot.
  6. Add salt, pepper, cheese and bacon to the soup. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.
  7. Serve immediately or ladle into containers for the freezer.

Download the Tuscan White Bean Soup recipe here.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. Check out some of my other recipes including Curried Apple Egg Salad Sandwich, Double chocolate pecan cookiesThe ultimate rice krispie squareBest salad everNo bake energy ballsthe best chicken soup you’ll ever eatBailey’s dipped toasted marshmallowszucchini quinoa pattiesperfect chocolate chip cookiesmarinated feta cheeseMediterranean humus.

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Zucchini Quinoa Patties with Lemon Oregano Yogurt Sauce

| Cooking

A great meal idea for meatless Monday's.

A great meal idea for meatless Monday’s.

Recently on the local news,  the city of Vancouver, BC announced that they will be officially commencing with Meatless Mondays, encouraging residents to forego meat for one day a week for the sake of the planet and their health. As with everything that’s considered “change” there’s been a bit of controversy around it.  Michael and I have been trying to cut back on the meat we eat on a weekly basis for a few years now and at this point we eat meat about 3-4 times a week now. It’s nothing I work too hard at or even think about any more.  Fortunately there are so many great alternatives to meat available to us.

Last night I made some wonderful zucchini quinoa patties and thought it was worthy of a post.  Our entire family enjoys them, even picky Noelle. It’s nice because you get some veggies and protein in one nice little package. I try to keep the frying down to a minimum, I lightly brown the patties and then I cook them through the rest of the way in the oven.

This recipe has been slightly modified from this original recipe.

Ingredients:

FOR THE CAKES:

  • 2 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup cooked jasmine rice (feel free to omit and just use 2 cups of quinoa)
  • 1 egg
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ cup of green onions
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup panko crumbs (or more breadcrumbs)
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese (freshly grated is best but use what you have)
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp oil plus more for frying

FOR THE YOGURT SAUCE:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt (use reduced fat yogurt if you’d like)
  • Juice from ½ a lemon
  • 1 tbsp of freshly chopped oregano
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced

Directions:

    1. Combine and thoroughly mix all the yogurt sauce ingredients together and let sit in the fridge until the patties are ready to be served
    2. Sprinkle ¼ tsp of salt on the shredded zucchini, put in a colander and let sit to draw out any liquid.
    3. Heat oil in a medium skillet and add garlic and green onions, ¼ tsp salt and pepper and cook until veggies are slightly soft. Remove from heat, drain off excess oil and allow to cool.
    4. In a large bowl, combine breadcrumbs, panko, parmesan cheese and lemon zest.  The mix in lemon juice, quinoa, rice, and cooked green onions and garlic. Add in egg and shredded zucchini. Mix everything together thoroughly and start forming balls (a little smaller than a golf ball) and then carefully flatten into a thick patty.
    5. Preheat oven to 400 F
    6. Heat oil (just enough to evenly cover the surface entirely) on medium-high heat in a large skillet. Carefully place patties into the pan and cook for a few minutes on each side until it starts to lightly brown and get a little crispy. Remove from pan and place to a paper towel covered plate.  Dab off any excess oil with more paper towel.
    7. Move patties onto a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 15 minutes, turning over at about the halfway point.
    8. Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly and serve with the chilled yogurt sauce on top.
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Really Rad Roasted Radishes (+ carrots & potatoes)

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Roasted Radishes, Carrots and Potatoes

Roasted Radishes, Carrots and Potatoes

I know I’m a bit of a dork but I get so excited seeing vegetables growing in my garden.  The whole transformation from that teeny tiny speck of a seed into a wonderful, colourful and tasty piece of food that helps to feed my family still amazes me every time.  Yes, I know I can run over to the grocery store and buy my vegetables but there is just something so much more satisfying about growing it myself – oh, that and it tastes divine straight out of the ground.

Today after work I popped up to the garden to see how everything was coming along when I noticed some of my radishes were looking ready to be picked – how exciting, my first harvest of the year.  Now, I have to be totally honest here, I’ve never really liked radishes.  In fact, the only reason I grow them is for my mother-in-law’s partner Gary, but they’re out of the country for the next month.  So, that brought me to my dilemma this evening – what do I do now that I have all these radishes that are ready to be eaten.  After some consideration I realized that I could probably just roast them like I do my other veggies.  I gathered, chopped, seasoned and roasted and voila, they were spectacular. Roasting the radishes really mellows out the flavour so they aren’t so spicy. Note, that’s why you hardly see any radishes in the finished photo above – my husband ate most of them before I could get them to the plate to photograph.

This recipe is pretty loosie-goosie, just add a little more or a little less of whatever ingredients you like.

Ingredients:

  • 8-12 radishes halved or quartered
  • 8-12 baby potatoes quartered
  • 3-4 carrots chopped into chunks
  • tbsp olive oil (more if you use more veggies)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp steak spices
  • 1/4 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1/2 tsp parsley

Instructions:

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Gather and wash veggies and chop into pieces.
  3. Put into a microwave safe bowl and microwave on HI for about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Take out of microwave and pour olive oil and all the spices into the bowl with the veggies.  Stir around so that everything is evenly coated.
  5. Spread veggies onto a baking sheet and cook for 30 minutes.
  6. Take out of oven, let them rest for about 5 minute to cool and then serve with your meal.
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Easy No-Knead Bread

| Cooking, For the Home

Easy and tasty no-knead bread

Easy and tasty no-knead bread

I’m just going to say it… I love bread!  Which means I never keep it in my house.  If I ever have beautiful artisan bread in my house, it rarely lasts longer than an entire day – yes, I’m ashamed to say that means I can eat an entire loaf in a day.

My talented friend Diane is an incredible baker.  She’s always bringing in her stunning loaves of bread into work and taunts the entire office with that warm, rich and delightful fresh baked smell.  Myself, I usually don’t have much luck with baking but I thought I’d get some advice from Diane about an easy bread that I may have some success with.  Diane suggested a no-knead bread so I came home and looked up some recipes online until I found this recipe on Frugal Living NW. Overall I thought the recipe was great but personally,  I like something with a bit more flavour so I added asiago cheese, garlic, rosemary and a touch of oregano to the recipe the next time I made it and it was to die for.  Now I make this whenever I have at least a days notice that we’re having company. This also makes a wonderful gift to take when attending dinner parties – always a hit!

Here’s the recipe:

Basic No-Knead Bread
slightly adapted from Jim Lahey’s My Bread

6 cups bread flour (recommended) or all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/2 t. instant or active-dry yeast
2 1/2 t. salt
2 2/3 c. cool water

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, and salt. Add the water and stir until all the ingredients are well incorporated; (THIS WOULD BE WHERE YOU COULD ADD ANY EXTRA FLAVOURS OR INGREDIENTS YOU’D LIKE) the dough should be wet and sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest 12-18 hours on the counter at room temperature. When surface of the risen dough has darkened slightly, smells yeasty, and is dotted with bubbles, it is ready.
  2. Lightly flour your hands and a work surface. Place dough on work surface and sprinkle with more flour. Fold the dough over on itself once or twice and, using floured fingers, tuck the dough underneath to form a rough ball.
  3. Generously dust a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with enough flour, cornmeal, or wheat bran to prevent the dough from sticking to the towel as it rises; place dough seam side down on the towel and dust with more flour, cornmeal, or wheat bran. Cover with the edges or a second cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours, until it has doubled in size.
  4. After about 1 1/2 hours, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place a 6-8 quart heavy covered pot, such as a cast-iron Dutch oven, in the oven as it heats. When the dough has fully risen, carefully remove pot from oven. Remove top towel from dough and slide your hand under the bottom towel; flip the dough over into pot, seam side up. Shake pan once or twice if dough looks unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.
  5. Cover and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and continue baking for 10-15 more minutes, until the crust is a deep chestnut brown. The internal temperature of the bread should be around 200 degrees. You can check this with a meat thermometer, if desired.
  6. Remove the bread from the pot and let it cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

 

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