Creamy Zucchini and Coconut Milk Soup

Creamy Zucchini and Coconut Milk Soup

This was inspired by some leftover coconut milk, zucchini in the fridge and the “Cooking Canuck” blog. I served it hot as a first course for a dinner party.

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Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups (packed) grated zucchini (about 2-3 depending on size)
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt (plus more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (plus more to taste)
  • 2 3/4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2/3 cup coconut milk

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan set over medium-low heat. Add the onion and  and sweat (cook without browning) until the onion is soft and translucent, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for additional 2 minutes.
  2. Turn the heat to medium, add the grated zucchini and chopped mint leaves, and cook until the zucchini is starting to soften, about 4 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add broth, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove soup from the heat and let cool for about 10 minutes. I used a Vitamix but a blender will do the job.
  5. Process the soup in a blender, in two batches, until the soup is almost smooth, but with a little bit of texture. Return to the saucepan, stir in coconut milk, reheat, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve.
  6. This soup can also be served chilled.
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Red Curry Tofu and Vegetables

Red Curry Tofu and Vegetables

I love red curry. I like it best with chicken and shrimp but my husband does enjoy a vegetarian meal occasional so i made this with tofu. This was fast and easy on a week night. I am not a purist on south asian food – sometimes I just go with what works. Yummy

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Ingredients

1 block Extra Firm Tofu, drained* and cut into large chunks
3 Tbsp Olive or peanut oil, divided
1 onion sliced thin
2 Zucchini, Julienne slices
1 can light coconut milk
1 Tbsp Fish Sauce
2 Tbsp Red Curry paste
2 Tbsp low sodium Soy Sauce

Directions

In a medium sized bowl combine Coconut milk, fish sauce and Red Curry Paste. Mix well.

In a wok or skillet heat 2 Tbsp olive oil (or peanut oil) and over high heat add the onion, stirring often about 10 minutes, add red pepper and stir quickly for a few minutes, add the zucchini and stir fry for another minute. Remove from heat to a bowl.

Heat the remaining oil and add tofu. Over high heat stir fry for a few minutes so tofu gets golden on each side. Add the soy sauce and continue to stir until golden brown. Add the Vegetable mixture back in and add curry, coconut mixture.

Serve over rice.

  • I drain my tofu, wrap in a paper towel and place a plastic covered brick on top for a few hours to make sure all the moisture is out.
Quinoa with Swiss Chard and Pine Nuts with Honey Peanut Butter Dressing

Quinoa with Swiss Chard and Pine Nuts with Honey Peanut Butter Dressing

I served this as a side dish with grilled chicken. My husband wants to eat greens but he does not actually LIKE greens… so I find ways to disguise them. This was perfect. I used Rainbow Swiss Chard but you could use spinach, too. This is a great way to use up leftover quinoa.

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Ingredients

1 cup of quinoa, cooked as directed
1/2 a bunch of Swiss Chard or other greens stems removed and roughly chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1/3 cup of dried cherries
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 cup pine nuts (peanuts or cashews are also good)

Dressing

3 Tbs peanut butter powder, combined with 1 1/2 Tbs water*
(or 3 Tbs creamy peanut butter)
1 Tsp honey

Directions

Combine peanut butter and water in a small bowl. You may need more water, should be a smooth paste. Add honey and stir to mix well. Microwave for about 15-30 seconds or until soft and easy to stir.

Heat the olive oil in a medium sized pan. Add the red pepper and sauté until tender. Add the greens and stir until wilted. Add pine nuts and quinoa, stir well.  Add the peanut butter and honey mixture to the mixture and mix well to coat. Remove from heat and serve warm or cold.

 

Roasted Parmesan Cauliflower

Roasted Parmesan Cauliflower

This mades a great side dish with grilled meat or vegetables.

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Ingredients

1 head of cauliflower, cut into chunks
1/8 cup of olive oil
1/2 cup Panko or regular bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp Oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place cauliflower florets into a plastic bag. Pour in olive oil, seal bag and shake to coat. Add parmesan cheese, oregano and bread crumbs. Seal bag and shake to coat.

Place on a foil lined tray and bake for about 20 minutes or until cauliflower is fork tender.

Lower Guilt Baked Broccoli Pasta & Cheese

Lower Guilt Baked Broccoli Pasta & Cheese

 

IMG_3546.jpgThis is fairly low on the guilt level and I found it tastes even better warmed up! Comes together quickly. Great as a vegetarian main meal, side dish and a way to disguise broccoli – which is how my husband prefers it. Kid friendly comfort food. Inspired by Skinny Taste.

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Ingredients:

  • 12 oz elbow, shells or other twisty pasta (I used Trottole)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 1 cup fat free chicken broth (vegetarians use vegetable broth)
  • 2 cups reduced-fat sharp cheddar
  • salt and fresh pepper to taste
  • 12 oz fresh broccoli
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan
  • 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • Smoked Paprika (optional)
  • cooking spray

Directions: 

Cook pasta and broccoli together in a large pot of salted water, according to package directions for al dente (or slightly under cook 2 minutes). Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 375°.

In a large, heavy skillet, melt butter. Add flour and cook another minute, or until the flour is golden and well combined. Add milk and broth and whisk, raising heat to medium-high until it comes to a boil; cook about 5 minutes or until the sauce becomes smooth and thick. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat a large pot of water, Cut broccoli into florets and using a steamer cook for just a few minutes, not quite cooked. The original recipe did not call for it to be cooked so you could add the broccoli uncooked.

Once the sauce is thick, remove from heat, add cheese and mix well until cheese is melted. Adjust salt and pepper to taste, add cooked pasta and broccoli, mix well. Pour into prepared baking dish. Top with grated cheese and breadcrumbs. Spray a little more cooking spray on top. Sprinkle with a bit of smoked paprika.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, then broil for a few minutes to get the breadcrumbs golden.

Pumpkin Pudding

 

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Since this is the season for everything cinnamon and pumpkin this is a super easy and low fat pudding. It is best eaten warm (I think). I ate some right out of the saucepan…. You can use whole milk for a full fat pudding and add more brown sugar if you want more sweetness. Super easy! It is also a great way to use up leftover canned pumpkin! This recipe was inspired by Health.com. 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk  (or evaporated or whole milk)
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preparation

Whisk milk, sugar, and cornstarch in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Boil 3 minutes, whisking constantly. Beat eggs with a whisk in a large bowl. Gradually add half the hot milk mixture to the beaten eggs. Return milk-egg mixture to pan. Cook over medium heat 3 minutes, or until thick, whisking constantly. Remove from heat; stir in pumpkin, salt, and pumpkin-pie spice. Spoon evenly into 4  dishes. Let cool, and chill for about 30 minutes, or until pudding is set.

Three Cheese Stuffed Butternut Squash

Three Cheese Stuffed Butternut Squash

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This makes a great side dish or vegetarian main meal. Autumn comfort food. I served it with Grilled chicken and asparagus. You can easily double the recipe. I think it would make a great side on Thanksgiving. This was inspired by a recipe from Rachel Ray.

IMG_3359.jpgIngredients

1 butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
Olive oil, for brushing
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil for onion
Salt and pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 onion, thinly sliced
3/4 cups fresh ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves (dried will also work)
1 tablespoon grated orange zest (optional)
1/2 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup freshly shredded or grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Brush the squash with Olive Oil and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Roast the squash until just tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Leave the oven on.

While the squash is roasting heat the tablespoon of olive oil in the pan and add the onions. Cook until caramelized and golden brown

When the squash is cool enough to handle, carefully scrape out the flesh into a bowl, leaving just enough flesh to keep the shells intact. Add the onions, ricotta, thyme, lemon zest, and cheeses into bowl with the squash flesh and mix well. Fill the squash shells and top with the shredded parmesan cheese. Bake until browned and bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes.

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