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Posts tagged veg

Vegetable Comfort Soup

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This is the type of soup that doesn’t really have any set measurements or ingredients.  Aside from the aromatics like onions, garlic, and celery that should be included in this recipe, it’s a “throw in any kind of veggies you like” soup especially if you are cleaning out your fridge/freezer.  These just happen to be the veggies I ended up using.   You can make this completely vegetarian by using vegetable stock instead of a meat-based stock.   And it’s perfect for those cold rainy and/or snowy days when all you want to do is stay warm and cozy indoors with a blanket, roaring fire, and good book!

Ingredients

3 cups water
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 celery stalks, chopped (include the leafy tops for extra flavor)
6 medium sized carrots, peeled and chopped
1 cup frozen sweet peas
1 cup frozen sweet corn
14.5oz can diced tomatoes
15.5oz can red kidney beans, drained
15.5oz can garbanzo beans, drained
1 ¼ cup uncooked brown rice
2 bay leaves
Fresh ground black pepper
Salt
Olive oil

Method

In a large soup pot, cook onions in about a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until onions are translucent.  Next add the can of diced tomatoes and cook for about 2 minutes.  Then add the water, stock, carrots, celery, corn, bay leaves, garlic, and beans.  Grind some black pepper in there and add a few pinches of salt (the stock may have some sodium in it so go easy with the salt, you can always add more later).  Cover and simmer over medium low for about an hour- stirring occasionally.  About 20 minutes before serving, add the rice so it cooks thoroughly (unless it’s “Minute” rice in which case, 10 min before).  Then about 5 minutes before, add the sweet peas so they remain a bright green color (if added too early they turn a muted “pea soup” color).  Remove bay leaves before serving.  Top with a little grated parmesan cheese and serve with some warm crusty garlic bread.

For the garlic bread, toast  a few slices of whole wheat Tuscan bread (Trader Joe’s has an amazing one) with a little butter.  Once toast is slightly browned and still warm, rub a clove of garlic over the surface of each piece.  You don’t need to use the entire clove; all you need is the flavor of the garlic.  It’s so delicious and beats the heck out of *gasp* garlic powder!
This soup can last for days in the fridge and be eaten all week or you can freeze the leftovers in small containers for later use.

 

Nana’s Italian Potato Salad

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Nana’s Italian Potato Salad

I’ve been eating this potato salad practically since birth!  I prefer it over the mayonnaise-based potato salads as it is much healthier and flavorful.  The only thing different I did than my Nana is that I added some sliced Napa cabbage because I had a little bit leftover and needed to use it up.  It was a pleasant little addition!

Ingredients

5 large potatoes, cooked fork tender (Depending on how many you will feed, estimate about one potato per person and adjust other ingredients accordingly)
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, sliced
1/2 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup Napa cabbage (optional)
1 tomato, sliced (optional)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
Salt/pepper

Method

Let potatoes cool a little bit then in a large bowl, mix together with all of the other ingredients.  Cover and chill in refrigerator for at least 30 min (the longer it stays, the more flavorful it will be so this can be done the day before).  You may need to add a little more olive oil/vinegar as the potatoes will absorb some of it while in fridge. 

This can be served with pretty much anything- burgers, chicken, ribs… or just as is.

Eggplant Topped with Tomato and Feta Salad

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Grilled Eggplant over Nutty Farfalle

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This is based on one of the many traditional Italian pasta dishes that are a part of our Christmas Eve feast called “Pasta and Nuts”.  The original recipe is made with an anchovy base and the pasta used is spaghetti.  I thought it would be fun to put a slightly different spin on this family classic.

And don’t forget to check out the tips after the pictures!

Grilled Eggplant over Nutty Farfalle

Ingredients

1 eggplant, sliced in about ½ inch thick slices
1 8oz bag chopped walnuts
1 cup bread crumbs
4-6 garlic cloves, chopped (depends on your liking)
1 cup grated Parm cheese
1 lb Farfalle pasta (bow-ties) (I use Barilla Plus b/c it contains fiber, protein, and Omega-3)
Extra Virgin olive oil
Salt/pepper
Chopped flat leaf parsley
Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Method

Preheat indoor grill pan (or outdoor grill).  Drizzle eggplant slices with olive oil and place on grill.  Cook about 3-4 minutes per side until lightly browned and fork tender.  Salt/pepper immediately after taken off grill and place aside.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and add pasta- cook 8-10 min (do not overcook- you want pasta to be al dente).

While pasta is cooking, in a large dry skillet over medium low heat, toast the walnuts for about 5 minutes.  Once they are lightly browned, add the cup of bread crumbs and toast for another 3-4 minutes.  Drop heat down to low and add the garlic.  When pasta is done, drain and add to skillet.  Drizzle with olive oil, add grated cheese and toss.  Sprinkle with some chopped flat leaf parsley and crushed red pepper flakes.  Serve topped with the grilled eggplant slices.

Tips:
*Toasting nuts brings out their natural oils therefore you don’t need to cook them in any oil.  However, this can cause the them to burn so cook them over low-medium low heat and never leave them unattended.
*Al dente pasta (firm but not too hard) has a lower glycemic index than pasta cooked soft.

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