Tag Archives: vegetable

Cheesy Vegetable Chowder

I hope you’ve had a great 2016. Every year has its ups and downs. But hopefully the ups were high enough to offset the downs. I wish you all a Happy New Year this weekend.

One quick recipe to end the year – vegetable chowder. Hopefully it will be helpful in clearing out your fridge of any remaining holiday foods. And keeping you warm, as I see the forecast for many early next week is rather cold.

I’ve been tweaking this recipe for awhile, and I’ve made most of my batches with leftovers from holiday veggie trays, cheese trays, etc. It is great for just cleaning out the fridge and pantry, which is great any time of year. Enjoy!

Cheesy Vegetable Chowder (Serves about 8)

Cheesy Vegetable Chowder

4 cups low sodium vegetable (or chicken) stock
4 cups vegetables, chopped (broccoli, carrots, celery, cauliflower, zucchini, etc)
1-2 cups small diced potatoes
2 tablespoons no salt added butter
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup flour
2 cups milk (preferably skim)
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon fresh thyme (optional)
2 cups shredded cheese (something more flavorful than mozzarella)

1. Heat stock to a boil in a large stockpot. Add potatoes and other long cooking vegetables (carrots, celery). Add other vegetables sporadically so they all finish cooking about the same time (total time, 15ish minutes).

2. When the vegetables are almost done, heat butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute for about 3 minutes, until translucent. Add in flour. Stir for 1 minute. Add in milk, pepper, and thyme, stirring frequently. Cook for a couple minutes, until beginning to thicken.

3. Add milk mixture to vegetable pot. Cook until desired consistency (about 5 minutes or so). Remove from heat and stir in cheese until melted throughout.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 236
Protein: 13 g
Fat: 12 g
Saturated fat: 8 g
Cholesterol: 36 mg
Carbohydrates: 20 g
Fiber: 2 g
Sodium: 491 mg

Recipe Notes: Sorry the recipe is a bit vague in places. It really depends on what vegetables you have, how big you cut them, and how crunchy/soft you like your veggies in the soup. If you have leftover cheese slices from a cheese tray, just crumble them up or dice them up small. They’ll melt faster that way than in slices.

Source: adapted from my mom’s broccoli cheese soup recipe

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Recipes

Guest Post – Quick Vegetable Stock

I’m very excited to share a guest post from The Kitchen Professor today. Check out his awesome site here! It’s a great source of recipes, product reviews, and information about cast iron cookware.

There are three main reasons that I like to make my own vegetable stock:

1. I never seem to have vegetable stock when I need it.
2. You can use your vegetable scraps to make homemade stock.
3. You can avoid high sodium broths and stocks.

The great thing about vegetable stock is that you can get complex flavors out in short order – as opposed to chicken, beef, or fish stock where you need to simmer the stock for a while. You can get a lot of flavor in 15 minutes or so.

pot-full-of-veggies-foodforthoughtrd

Ingredients

1 medium yellow onion
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 – 2 carrots, no need to peel
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon of paprika (I like the smoked variety.)
¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper
1.5 quarts of cool water
Optional: Kosher Salt to flavor
Optional: Other vegetable scraps if you have them.*

*You can save all sorts of other vegetable cuttings to use like: red, green, yellow bell peppers, mushrooms, celery, fennel, fresh herbs of all types especially thyme, parsley, rosemary, and sage. You can save your cuttings in the freezer over the week and make your stock weekly.

You will need the following:

Large cutting board
A Sharp Chef’s knife (see a selection of my favorite chef’s knives here)
Large stock pot (3 to 5 quarts will work)

Here is what you do:

1. Coarsely chopped the onion, carrot, and garlic.

2. Add the onion, carrot, garlic, bay leaf, paprika, and black pepper to a large stock pot.

3. Add 1.5 quarts of cool water to a large stock pot and cover the pot.

4. Turn the heat to high until it reaches a boil.

5. Reduce the heat to a simmer.

6. Allow the veggies to simmer for 15 minutes and up to an hour if you have the time.

7. Strain the stock through a strainer. You can just ladle the liquid through the strainer, while holding the strainer over the pot.

8. Use the stock immediately, if desired.

9. Or, you can allow the pot to cool off the heat, uncovered for about an hour. Cover, then move to the refrigerator until cooled completely.

10. I like to move the stock over to a mason jar or other airtight container. The stock will keep for a week in the refrigerator.

As you can see, making your own stock is super simple and only takes a few minutes. You can get fancy by adding different vegetables, too. Like if you were making a mushroom risotto, then you may want to add a handful of mushrooms to add to the overall complexity of the dish.

Bio
Doug isn’t really a professor, but he geeks out in the kitchen. He can barely follow a recipe and just uses them as guidelines. Doug blogs about everything from knives and sharpeners to cutting boards to cast iron, with some recipes thrown in just for fun. Check out more at The Kitchen Professor!

1 Comment

Filed under Recipes

Grilled Asparagus

One of my nephews will never pick favorites.  He doesn’t have a favorite sport, a favorite subject at school, a favorite activity on a vacation, etc.  If you ask him, he always says, “I didn’t have a favorite.”  Since I’m only asking to kill time and make conversation, it can be rather infuriating.  But as I thought about it, I’m not the best at picking favorites either.  People always ask what is your favorite dessert, restaurant, food, etc.  I need subcategories to really give a good answer.

However, I do think asparagus will always be in my top 5 favorite vegetables.  The only problem is it is only super affordable and available for about 1-2 weeks in the spring.  We have long since passed that time.  Off season asparagus isn’t always as tender, but you can still usually find some.  Especially through the late spring/early summer.  To me, asparagus makes any meal fancier.  I recently tried grilling my asparagus and loved it.  Enjoy!

Grilled Asparagus (Serves 4)

Grilled Asparagus

1 bunch of asparagus (usually about ¾ -1 lb)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Skewers, wood or metal

1. If using wood skewers, soak in water for at least 30 minutes.

2. Trim about 1-2 inches off the bottom of asparagus to remove tough ends. Thread asparagus spears on to skewers. Thread towards the bottom, where the spears are thicker. Drizzle with oil and vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3. Preheat grill to medium/medium-high heat. Place skewers of asparagus on to the grill, spears running perpendicular to the grates. Grill 3-5 minutes on each side, flipping when lightly charred. Remove from skewers to serve.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 51
Protein: 2 g
Fat: 3 g
Saturated fat: .5 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 4 g
Fiber: 2 g
Sodium: 148 mg

Recipe notes: When looking for asparagus, look for bunches with thinner stalks, as these will be more tender. You can grill the asparagus without putting it on skewers, but I thought the skewers made them easier to handle.

Source: adapted from several sources online

Leave a comment

Filed under Recipes

Roasted Red Pepper Chowder

Summer or at least summer weather has finally arrived at my house.  Warmer days means I want lighter meals that take less time to prepare.  Soup doesn’t seem very summery to most people, but my family has actually found quite a few soups that are good in the summer.  I do shy away from some options, like I don’t make much minestrone or chili during the summer.  But light, quick-cooking soups are a great summer dinner.  Zucchini soup is a definite go to, for sure.

The word “chowder” in the title of this recipe seems odd to me.  To me chowder is creamy, thick, and laden with potatoes.  None of those describe this soup.  It is a “full” soup though, so you aren’t just swimming in broth like a chicken noodles soup.  I loved how quickly all the flavors in this came together to create something satisfying.  And the corn and peppers make it taste like summer.  Enjoy!

Roasted Red Pepper Chowder (Serves 2-3)

Roasted Red Pepper Chowder

2 red peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon chipotle chile powder (more per your heat preference)
2 cups low sodium broth (chicken or vegetable)
1 (15 ounce) can reduced sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen corn
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 avocado
¼ cup chopped cilantro
¼ cup nonfat sour cream

1. Coat red peppers with cooking spray. Place on a grill over medium to medium high heat. Cook, rotating, until each side is lightly charred. Remove from heat and place in a paper bag. Let stand for at least 10 minutes. Remove as much of peel as possible. Discard stem and seeds.

2. Heat olive oil in a medium to large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Saute onion until beginning to become tender, about 3-5 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, and chile powder. Cook 1 minute more.

3. Add roasted pepper and chicken broth. In a blender or with an immersion blender, blend until smooth (or mostly smooth, in my case). Return to pan and to heat.

4. Add beans, corn, and lime juice. Simmer for 10 minutes over medium heat. Serve with sliced avocado, cilantro, and a dollop of sour cream.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 517
Protein: 19 g
Fat: 24 g
Saturated Fat: 3 g
Cholesterol: 3 mg
Carbohydrates: 65
Fiber: 21 g
Sodium: 803 mg

Recipe Notes: I highly recommend “roasting” several peppers at a time. I did four, since I needed that many for recipes that week. It doesn’t take any longer to do more, and then you have them. You can go all the way to peel them and then store them. Or I just put the bags into the fridge to cool and did all the peeling and cleaning as I needed them. I was silly and put my soup in a food processor, which did not work very well at chopping all of this up. It still tasted good and the consistency did not bother me. The soup pictured also probably has more beans than 1 can of beans. I cook beans in large batches in a crockpot and then freeze them for later in plastic bags. I probably get about 1 ½ cups, whereas I think a can of beans is around 1 cup of beans. Honestly, I don’t know that it is any cheaper this way. I just like doing it for some reason. I know the fat looks REALLY high in this dish. It is because of the avocado. Monounsaturated fats are good for you – read here.

Source: adapted from Cooking Light

Low iodine adjustment: Use an iodine or salt free broth. Use homemade beans or unsalted beans. Omit the sour cream on top. You may want to add ½ teaspoon non iodized salt in step 4 for seasoning.

Leave a comment

Filed under Recipes

Foil Packet Tilapia

Cooking things in foil packets makes me think of camping. In particular, I remember one camping trip where we made foil packets with chicken, potatoes, and carrots. It would have been great, if the chicken hadn’t been frozen. Those cooked FOREVER, at least in my recollections of being 14.

Cooking fish in packets is especially helpful. It can help prevent the dreaded scenario of dry fish. And dealing with foil packets on the grill is sometimes easier than flaky fish fillets. Packets are also a great way to mingle a lot of flavors. Throw your veggies in to cook as well and save yourself a pot. I put a little extra sauce on these, so they easily dumped on to some cooked pasta for a complete dinner. Enjoy!

Foil Packet Tilapia (Serves 4)

Foil Packet Tilapia

4 tilapia fillets
2 cups green beans, trimmed and chopped into bite size pieces
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon salt

1. Spread 4 large squares of foil on a counter. Preheat grill.

2. Place 1 piece of fish on each piece of foil. Add ¼ cup beans, ¼ of the onion, ½ of a tomato, and ¼ of the garlic to each packet.

3. Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Pour evenly over each piece of fish. Seal packets well.

4. Grill 5-10 minutes, until the fish is cooked through and has a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees F. Serve over rice or pasta.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories:  279
Protein:  25 g
Fat:  16 g
Saturated Fat:  3 g
Cholesterol:  58 mg
Carbohydrates:  11 g
Fiber:  3 g
Sodium:   364 mg

Recipe Notes: You could also cook these in the oven. I’ve seen oven temps on recipes online everywhere from 350-425, with cooking times from 10-30 minutes. As a general rule, the higher the temp, the less it will need to cook. You can always mix up the veggies to your taste preference or what you have on hand.  Zucchini or summer squash would be especially good, I think.  Tomatoes are good to include if you have them, since they provide a little more liquid for the sauce.

Source: Adapted from many sources online.

Leave a comment

Filed under Recipes

Tangy Braised Cabbage and Asian Cabbage

Every year, cabbage goes on sale for a week or so in March, and most of us eat a little out of obligation on St. Patrick’s Day. Cabbage is a strong flavor, so it doesn’t usually come up as a favorite veggie for many. But it really can be delicious.

Like all cruciferous vegetables, cabbage needs to be handled carefully. You can’t overcook them or you will enhance the natural bitterness in these veggies. I’ve mentioned before how roasting helps to bring out their sweetness, with roasted cabbage and roasted brussel sprouts. But with spring in the air, you may be avoiding the oven like I am.

Here are two fast, stove-top ready cabbage dishes that have a nice, mild cabbage flavor enhanced with bold sauces. They are quick to prepare, and they were quick to disappear at my house. If you are looking for a slightly untraditional St. Patrick’s Day feast, these are the cabbages for you. Enjoy!

Tangy Braised Cabbage (Serves about 3)

IMG_6419label

½ tablespoon canola oil
½ large onion, sliced
1 cup low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons horseradish or dijon mustard
½ small-medium green cabbage, sliced thin or shredded
1 tablespoon white vinegar

1. Heat oil in a large skillet that has a lid over medium-high heat. Saute onion for about 4 minutes, until beginning to soften.

2. Mix broth and mustard together. Add broth mixture and cabbage to skillet, tossing to combine with onions. Cover, and cook for 5 minutes.

3. Uncover pan, stir, and cook for 8 minutes or until cabbage is wilted to your preference, stirring occasionally. Stir in vinegar. Remove from heat. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 88
Protein: 4 g
Fat: 3 g
Saturated Fat: less than 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 13 g
Fiber: 5 g
Sodium: 163 mg

Asian Cabbage (Serves about 3)

IMG_6293label

2 teaspoons lime juice
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
½ teaspoon sriracha
½ tablespoon sesame oil
½ small-medium green cabbage, sliced thin or shredded
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, optional

1. Combine lime juice through sriracha in a small bowl. Heat sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-high what. Add cabbage, and cook 7 minutes or beginning to brown.

2. Stir in juice mixture. Cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until cabbage is wilted to your preference. Stir in cilantro, if using. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 71
Protein: 2 g
Fat: 2 g
Saturated Fat: less than 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 12 g
Fiber: 4 g
Sodium: 83 mg

Recipe Notes: I prefer my cabbage a little more crunchy, so I cooked it the amount specified. If you like a lot of crunch, slice it thicker or cook it less.

Source: slightly adapted from Cooking Light

Leave a comment

Filed under Recipes

Minestrone

If you asked me if I liked minestrone five years ago, I would have answered in the negative.  Outside of chili, tomato based soups just weren’t my thing.  Then one balmy June evening in Chicago, I went over to my best friend’s house to relax.  I was in the middle of moving and hadn’t been able to make myself dinner.  Rather than grab fast food, I just grabbed a bag of microwave popcorn to take with me.  When I asked her if I could make my “dinner”, she frowned and proceeded to take me back to her kitchen and ladle me up a big, steaming bowl of this minestrone.  I honestly didn’t want to eat it, but felt it would be rude not to, so I dug in.  My world was forever changed.

This minestrone is different than any most of you have had before.  There isn’t any pasta.  There are potatoes.  There are ridiculous amounts of vegetables, including cabbage.  And uncharacteristically for me, these vegetables are all cooked until very well done.  But this is the best minestrone I have ever tasted, hands down.  And as an added bonus, it tastes even better if it sits for a day or two in the fridge or longer in the freezer.  So go make a big pot today and save some for next week or next month!

Enjoy!

Minestrone (Serves at least 10)

IMG_6182label

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup diced carrot
1 cup diced celery
1 clove minced garlic or ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 (14 ounce) can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed well
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 (14 ounce) cans no salt added diced tomatoes
7 cups beef stock
2 cups diced potato
2 cups diced zucchini
2 cups shredded savoy cabbage

1. Heat oil in large stock pot. Add onion and cook until golden (about 5-7 minutes). Add celery and carrots; cook for about 5 minutes. Add garlic; sauté for 1 minute more.

2. Turn heat to low. Add beans, bay leaf, thyme, and Italian seasoning. Toss and let cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes with juice and beef stock and bring to a boil.

3. Add in potato, zucchini, and cabbage. Turn down to a simmer. Let simmer for 2 hours. Remove bay leaf and thyme sprig before serving.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 102
Protein: 3.5 g
Fat: 3.2 g
Saturated Fat: less than 1 g
Cholesterol: less than 1 mg
Carbohydrates: 16 g
Fiber: 4 g
Sodium: 634 mg

Recipe Notes: You can use chicken or vegetable stock instead, but the flavor is definitely not as good. I also do not recommend a low sodium stock. I have a hard time finding savoy cabbage sometimes. I have used a napa cabbage with decent results. You use about half of either cabbage for the soup. I know it seems a really long time to cook the vegetables, but it helps the flavors blend. I have simmered this in the crockpot for 2-3 hours on high. It works, but doesn’t yield quite the same results. This really does freeze exceptionally well. I know the sodium is a bit high in the nutrient analysis. I have done several things to try and cut the sodium, but this is as far as I can go without sacrificing flavor.

Source: adapted from my friend’s mother-in-law’s recipe

Low-iodine adjustment: Use no salt added stock and no salt added beans. Add at least 1 teaspoon of non-iodized salt with stock. You may need to taste and adjust seasonings.

5 Comments

Filed under Recipes