Advertisements
Tag Archives: vegetables

Tomato Based Vegetable Soup

12 Dec

Tomato Based Vegetable Soup

Christmas is less than two weeks away and I’m already entering sugar coma status. Holiday lattes start off my morning. Everyday seems like a cookie swap party at work…and it’s rude to turn away treats people have baked, right?? And for the past few nights, I’ve been having these as dessert — they’re sooo addicting. I know I’ll have to make more once they’re gone.

Since I’m eating so much sugar, I’m really trying to balance out my diet with some healthy meals like this soup. It’s filled with vegetables and has a rich tomato base. If you like tomato soup, you’ll want to try this! By blending a can of diced tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes and basil, each bite you take is full of flavor. Not even a pinch of salt went into the soup!

If you’re a sugar addict like me, make this soup so you can enjoy all the holiday treats the season has to offer.

Tomato Based Vegetable Soup

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced
  • ½ tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 15-oz. cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz. can small white beans or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes. Get the ones that aren’t packed in oil. They come packaged in a resealable bag, can be found in the produce section.
  • 8 basil leaves, torn plus more for garnish
  • 8 oz bag baby spinach

Directions 

  1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook 1 minute, or until garlic is fragrant. Stir in onion, carrots, celery, zucchini, and thyme.  Cook 10 to 15 minutes, or until onions are soft.
  2. Add broth, 1 can tomatoes, and beans. In a blender, add remaining can of tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, torn basil leaves and 1/2 soup liquid. Purée until smooth. Add more soup liquid to get the consistency you want.  Stir mixture into soup, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Simmer 10 minutes.
  3. Add baby spinach and simmer 1 minute more. Remove pan from heat, and stir in basil garnish.
Advertisements

Vegetarian Recipe: Corn, Sweet Potato and Poblano Chowder

1 Nov

How is everyone’s sugar hangover today? Are you in the need of some healthy food to detox? Well look no further..

As a child, I loved trick or treating and my favorite candy to get was Snickers. I was the type of kid who would save the “good” candy, like only allow myself to eat a few pieces a day. We always had sweets in our house, but there was something about Snickers candy bars. I wanted to keep those treats around for as long as I could.

As an adult, I rarely buy candy bars. “Too much sugar, too many calories” always runs through my mind as I’m gazing at candy in the check out line at the grocery store. But with it being Halloween season, I caved and bought 3 bags of treats — Kit Kats, Milky Ways & Peanut Butter Cups.

And guess what? We had 5 trick or treaters. Guess who lost all will power and ate a TON of candy?? (This is an obvious answer.)

Today I’m feeling the effects of a sugar coma… and the best way to get rid of my sugar guilt is to eat something healthy. Hello Corn, Sweet Potato and Poblano Chowder.

It might be hard to believe, but this is a healthy chowder. No cream or loads of butter. An easy way to give this chowder a thick consistency is to  puree a bag of frozen corn with some stock. Not only will give your chowder a creamy consistency, but it gives the soup a sweet taste. I couldn’t believe a bag of frozen corn had so much flavor!

Make this soup when you’re looking to stock up on some veggies into your meals. This recipe makes a lot, but luckily, it gets better the longer it sits. Freeze smaller portions or enjoy it for lunch for a few days.

When it comes to eating healthy, I don’t want to feel like I’m eating rabbit food. This is the type of chowder you can feel good about eating…and maybe have a piece of Halloween candy for dessert. 🙂

Corn, Sweet Potato and Poblano Chowder, makes 8 cups

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeds removed and diced
  • 2 bags of frozen corn (16 oz), defrosted
  • 2 32 oz cartons of stock (veggie if you want to keep this soup vegetarian)
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 4 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 poblano peppers, seeds removed and diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • cilantro for garnish

Directions:

  1. In a stock pot, add olive oil. When the oil is at a medium heat, add onions, garlic and jalapenos. Stir and cook for 10 minutes.
  2. In a blender, add 1 bag of defrosted corn and 1 cup of stock. Puree until smooth. Add more stock if needed.
  3. When the onions are soft, add flour and cumin. Stir consistently for 2-3 minutes. Slowly add the rest of the open container of stock. Stir to make sure there are no clumps (from the flour).
  4. Add potatoes. Add 1 to 2 cups of stock. Bring to boil. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. When the potatoes are cooked, add 1 bag of defrosted corn, poblanos and carrots. Stir in the corn puree and 1 cup of milk. Bring back to a simmer. Taste and season with salt, pepper and cumin. Garnish with cilantro.

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms….on the grill

3 May

Turn off your oven! Make a pledge not to turn it back on until the fall. Summer is coming and no one likes a hot house.

It was in the 80’s today in Chicago…and for some reason I was craving stuffed mushrooms. Mushrooms stuffed with goat cheese and spinach. Usually I make stuff mushrooms in the oven, but there was no way that was going to happen today! I’ve got a grill — might as well use it.

I had my stuffed portobello mushroom for dinner, but this would be a great appetizer. Or you could slice it up and put in on toasted french bread.

The spinach and cheese provided most of the flavor, with the mushroom providing an earthy undertone and vehicle to get the filling from plate to mouth. I loved it! You will too!

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms on the Grill, serves 8

  • 8 small portobello mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 nine-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, cooked and drained
  • 1 container goat cheese (5.3-ounce) with garlic and herbs, or Boursin cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

    1. Clean mushrooms and remove gills using a spoon. Brush all over with olive oil and set aside.
    2. Fire up your grill. While the grill is getting hot, mix the spinach, cheese, and garlic together in a bowl to make the filling.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.  Stuff each mushroom with a generous portion of the filling.
    3. When charcoal is fully lit and covered in gray ash, pour coals out and arrange them on one side of the charcoal grate, keeping the other side empty. (If you have a gas grill, don’t turn on all of the burners.) Clean and oil the cooking grate.  Place the mushrooms on the cool side of the grill, stuffed side up, cover, and cook until filling is bubbling and the mushrooms are well seared, about 20 minutes.  Remove from grill and serve immediately.

 

A breakfast pizza….with a glass of wine.

10 Apr

My days have been crazy. busy. stressful. When I get home, all I want is a quick, no hassle meal. Oh, and I want wine. My brother in-law was nice enough to fuel my wine love by giving me 17 bottles of wine. I know – 17 bottles!!! You’d think I’d have a party but I’ve been having a great time pairing my evening meals with some nice vino.

This breakfast pizza is something you could have in the morning… but I think it’s a perfect breakfast for dinner kind of meal.

First thing you want to do is spray cooking spray on both sides of a whole wheat pita. Then season the pita with garlic salt & pepper. Bake in the oven for 8 minutes at 350 degrees. One the pita is crispy, remove from the oven. Add sliced tomatoes to the perimeter of the pita. Layer spinach and form a little circle in the middle of the pita. Crack an egg and place it in the center of the pita. It will look like this…

Can you see the egg??

Top with a few reduced fat feta cheese crumbles. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Bake time depends on how you like your egg.

Once the pizza is done, top with sun-dried tomatoes and more feta cheese crumbles.

Eat!

I paired my breakfast pizza with a light, crisp wine. Yealands Sauvignon Blanc to be exact. It was perfect!

Enjoy this meal for dinner!! Or you could have it for breakfast, just skip the wine. 🙂

Veggie Breakfast Pizza, meal serves 1

  • 1 whole wheat pita
  • 1/2 roma tomato sliced, cut each slice in half
  • 1/2 cup spinach, rough chop
  • 1 egg
  • Reduced fat feta cheese crumbles
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Red pepper flakes

Directions

  1. Set over to 350 degrees. Spray both sides of pita with cooking spray. Season with garlic salt & pepper. Bake for 8 minutes, or until crispy.
  2. Remove pita from the oven. Top with tomatoes & spinach. Crack egg and place it in the middle of the pita. Top with a few feta cheese crumbles. Bake for 10-15 minutes. May need to bake longer if you like the egg yolk well done.
  3. Once pizza is done, top with more feta cheese, red pepper flakes and a few sun-dried tomatoes. Eat immediately!

Spring Chicken?!?!!

7 Mar

Dear Mother Nature,

I want to thank you for this mild winter. It’s been relatively painless. Not a lot of snow, not too cold. And over the past two days, 70 degree weather. It blows my mind and I’m still not doubting the chance I can be bamboozled. Is this winters’ weather too good to be true??!!

Please don’t be playing a trick on me. Do you know what I did on March 6th?? Used this bad boy.

Mr. Brinkman is ready to make a full push back into my life and I can’t tell him no. Afterall, I barely used him last summer… but you’d never know b/c I forgot to clean him at the end of the season. (I was busy & distracted.) However, that didn’t stop Mr. Brinkman. He stepped up and grilled the heck out of some marinated chicken thighs.

Mother Nature, I know you’ve done crazy things. Chicago is the only place where you can experience all four seasons in one day. But just the thought of Spring so early in the year brings so smiles. I might have said some nasty things about you in the past… so to make amends, I’d like you think of this Spring Chicken meal as a token of my appreciation. Orange marinated chicken, bright-colored veggies and brown rice — it’s the perfect dish to make you feel like Spring is here to stay.

Now, if there is something you can do to fix all this wind, my hair would greatly appreciate it. I hate it when it gets stuck in my lip gloss.

Lots o’ love!

Meghan

Orange Chicken – “Spring Chicken” Meal

  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup orange marmalade
  • 1/4 balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbs. oregano, chopped
  • 1 tbs. rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tbs. thyme, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp sriracha
  • 2 lbs boneless chicken thighs, skin removed
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 4 green onion, sliced thick
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 head of brocoli, stems removed
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 3 cups rice, cooked

Directions:

1. In small sauce pot combine orange juice, marmalade, vinegar, chopped herbs and sriracha. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes or until it starts to thicken.

2.Pre-heat grill. (Make sure you spray it with cooking spray BEFORE you light it!) Season chicken with salt & pepper and a couple spoonfuls of the orange glaze. Work it into the chicken.

3. In a heated wok, add oil & all of the veggies and garlic except for the shredded carrots. Cook for 3-5 minutes. (I like my veggies to still have some bite, cook longer if you like them softer. Add carrots the last minute. Remove for heat & set aside.

4. Grill chicken thighs 6-7 minutes per side. Brush chicken with glaze during cooking.

5. To make your spring dinner plate, first put a heaping spoonful of rice on your plate. Top with veggies and then chicken. Drizzle orange glaze all over your meal!

Very Veggie & Chicken Tortilla Soup

27 Feb

Hi!! Things got pretty busy for me last week…. I started a new job at a fresh herb company, Infinite Herbs. I’ll be doing sales & business development for their Mid-west clients, handling social media & recipe development. It’s the perfect job for a girl like me!

I’ll be traveling a couple of times a month but I’m still going to try to post 3 blog entries a week. That’s my goal and I hope it’s a realistic expectation.

There are a few things I find more convenient than a slow cooker. I love coming home from a long day at work and my dinner is ready for me. One less thing to do when I get home!

Tonight’s meal — Very Veggie & Chicken Tortilla Soup. I find restaurants that make this soup miss so many elements I love. Spice & veggies. This soup has a variety of vegetables, so you could omit the chicken and make it vegetarian. I included several layers of spice to this soup by using enchilada sauce, a jalapeno with the ribs & seeds and some spicy seasonings.

Every spoonful had so much flavor!! Have fun with the garnish for this soup. Bake your own tortilla chips, squeeze some lime juice into it, sprinkle cilantro or add a dollop of sour cream… or do it all!!

This soup was a delicious way to enjoy my dinner while watching E! news and get my Oscar red carpet recap. (Emma Stone was my favorite! J-Lo, a close 2nd.)

Have a great week!!

Very Veggie & Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • 2 (14 oz) cans of chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can red enchilada sauce
  • 1 (4 oz) can green chilis
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can tomatoes
  • 2 cups black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 2 cups pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 10 oz frozen corn
  • 2 chicken breasts, uncooked and cubed
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbs cumin
  • 1 tbs chili powder
  • 1 tps salt
  • garnish – tortilla strips, avocado, sour cream, cilantro, lime wedges

Directions:

Everything goes in the slow cooker except for the garnishes. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. Eat & enjoy.

If you’d like to “make” your own tortilla strips, all you need are corn tortillas, cooking spray & salt. Cut the tortillas into strips, spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with a little salt. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes (or until crispy) at 350 degrees. I made strips & chips!

Cleanse Wrap Up and Citrus & Ginger Smoothie

19 Jan

I’m happy to report I made it through my 3 day cleanse of only eating fruits & vegetables. Excluding the evening of Day 2, I felt great! I have a lot of energy and I feel lighter. I lost the 5 lbs I gained from the honeymoon, which is awesome so my jeans fit again. 🙂

I had some additional fruits & veggies in my fridge this morning, so I thought I’d give this cleanse one more day. Mr. Tasty isn’t coming home until this evening, so I probably won’t be cooking for us until tomorrow.

There are a few reasons why I succeed & stuck with my plan to cleanse.

  • I had no other food to eat in my house besides fruits & veggies. This is a huuuge element of my sucess. I think if I had different types of food around, I would of caved.
  • Mr. Tasty wasn’t home. Yes, it was sad to send him off on Sunday, but when he’s not home, I tend to eat a lot better.
  • I made a commitment and proclaimed it on the blogosphere. Letting others know about a goal you have makes you more accountable.

Has there been a time when you made a commitment to something difficult and you succeed?? If you didn’t succeed, what got in your way?

Alright, onto the last smoothie post I’ll make for a looong time. This morning, I made a Citrus & Ginger Smoothie. I also threw in a couple carrots. (Yay, no more green smoothies!) This smoothie is loaded with vitiman C and it tastes great. When I took my first sip, the smoothie reminded me of a Dreamicle… well, more like a Dreamicle who had an Asian cousin. The ginger gives the smoothie a little kick. I wish I would of made this recipe sooner in the cleanse. Ginger can help with headaches and I really could of used some help on Day 2.

I can see myself making this smoothie again. I think this would be a great smoothie to have when you’re coming down with the cold. The vitiman C and ginger can help aid colds. Overall, the smoothie is really good and I really like the zing from the ginger.

Citrus & Ginger Smoothie

* 2 oranges, peeled

* 1 cup pineapple

* 1/2 banana

* 2 carrots

* 1 tsp minced ginger

* 2 oz cold water

Directions:

Put all ingredients in the blender. Blend until completely smooth. Serve cold (you may want to add ice to the blender if you’re going to drink it right away) or store in an airtight container up to 3 days.

I hope you like this one as much as I did!