Lentil Soup

Lentil Soup

I made this with Turkey Kielbasa but you could use Turkey sausage or pork Italian sausage. This is great for a rainy, fall night. I sautéed the veggies and put in the crockpot for an easy weeknight meal. This warms up well and freezes for leftovers.

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Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cupchopped celery
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 pound lentils, picked and rinsed
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 quarts beef, chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp of thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground toasted cumin
  • 1 package of Turkey Kielbasa, sliced (or Italian sausage)

Directions

Place the olive oil into a large pot and set over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion, carrot, celery and salt and sweat until the onions are translucent, approximately 6 to 7 minutes.

While the vegetables are cooking add the broth, tomatoes and spices to the crockpot.

Add vegetables to the crockpot.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and brown the kielbasa or sausage slices.

Add the browned kielbasa, lentils, and stir to combine. Set the crockpot to the desired time. Serve with cornbread or salad.

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Soy Chorizo & Fruit Stuffed Acorn Squash

Soy Chorizo & Fruit Stuffed Acorn Squash

This is a great vegetarian meal packed with textures and flavors. Savory, sweet and nutty this is a perfect main meal or side dish. It makes a lot but you can freeze. It would be a great side dish for Thanksgiving for vegetarian guests.

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Ingredients

  • 2 acorn Squash
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 whole clove
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries
  • 1/4 cup pitted golden raisins
  • 1 small chopped apple
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 package of Soy Chorizo (I love Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 sprigs thyme, stems removed (optional)
  • 1 large (or 2 small) butternut squash
  • 1 cup quinoa cooked as directed
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • tsp butter for each squash half (I used Brummel & Brown yogurt butter)
  • 1 tsp maple syrup for each squash half

Directions

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine 1/2 cup coconut milk, cinnamon stick, clove, cherries and raisins. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and let ingredients soak for about 10 minutes. Set aside, and discard cinnamon stick.

Preheat oven to 350°. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion, salt. Cook, stirring, until caramelized, about 8-10 minutes. Add chorizo and cook until brown. Add the apple and mix well. Keep warm.

Cut squash in half lengthwise. Using a sturdy metal spoon, scrape out and discard seeds. Continue scraping flesh to hollow out center Add a tsp of maple syrup and butter to each squash half. Place squash on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 -40 minutes until soft.

While the squash is baking cook the quinoa according to directions. Add the the fruit and Soy Chorizo mix. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of coconut milk and mix well.

Spoon into the squash halves and serve.

We ate this the next night just headed up without the squash and it was wonderful all on its own.

 

 

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

This is great comfort food and taking advantage of all the wonderful fall squash available.  I used these smaller Honeynut Squash but Butternut works great. I roasted the squash for extra flavor.

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Ingredients

1 lb pasta (I use trottole or ribbed elbow)
6 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 1/2 cups whole milk (I used skim)
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cayenne
dash of smoked paprika
Salt, to taste
4-6 cups grated cheese
(I use sharp white and gruyere, how much you use is up to how cheesy you like it)

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
3 cups roasted butternut squash (recipe below)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350˚F and butter a 2 quart baking dish.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the pasta to a al dente.

Meanwhile make roux by melting 4 tbsp of the butter in a dutch oven or heavy bottomed pan over medium low heat. When butter is melted, add flour and cook, whisking for about 2 minutes or until golden brown.

Slowly whisk in milk and mix until it is all incorporated. Switch to a wooden spoon and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly,until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Season with salt, pepper, cayenne and nutmeg. Remove from heat and add cheese. Stir until melted. Add pasta and roasted butternut squash, if using, and fold until well combined.

Add the macaroni and cheese to the buttered baking dish. Melt remaining butter and toss with the parmesan cheese and both breadcrumbs. Season with a pinch of salt. Add breadcrumb mixture to the top of the mac and cheese, sprinkle with paprika and bake for about 45 mins or until golden brown and bubbly.

I also made this without the roux and tossed the pasta with just 3 1/2 cups of cheese and the squash, added about a 1/4 cup of milk to the casserole, and topped with bread crumb mix. It was not as rich and gooey but better for the waistline.

Roasted Butternut Squash
3 cups butternut squash cubes (about 1 inch in size)
2 tbsp olive oil
}Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Add the butternut squash to a parchment lined baking sheet. Add olive oil and salt and pepper and toss to coat. Roast for about 25 – 30 minutes or until tender.

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.
Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

 

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Life has been busy with work so I have not posted a blog in a while. BUT I have been cooking! This is the perfect soup for a cold, rainy day. I promised my friend Monica I would get this on my blog… This can be made totally in the crock pot but if you have the time I sauté the onion and carrot first before adding to the crockpot. I served with some homemade croutons.

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Ingredients

  • 1 package (16 ounces) dried green split peas, rinsed
  • 2 cups cubed fully cooked ham
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup julienned or chopped carrots
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • pepper to taste
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water

Directions

In a 4- or 5-qt. slow cooker, combine all ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until peas are tender.

 

Freeze cooled soup in freezer containers. To use, thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Heat through in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Yield: 8 servings.

 

Caribbean Peanut Chicken

Caribbean Peanut Chicken

I love anything in a peanut sauce and the spicy/sweet combination in this dish is just right.
I served with fried plantain and seasoned black beans. I might have to try this with Tofu for a vegetarian version. This makes 4 servings. I found this recipe in “The Complete Mexican, South American & Caribbean Cookbook” by Jane Milton, Jenn Fleetwood and Marina Filippelli and made a few tweaks of my own. This is simply a wonderful book that had been forgotten on the shelf and rediscovered. I have made this several times and it turns out a little different each time but just a wonderful meal. Makes good leftovers.

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Ingredients

2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into pieces
2 minced garlic cloves
2 tsps fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
salt to taste
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped in half and sliced thin
6 grape tomatoes, chopped in quarters
3 tbsp creamy natural peanut butter
1 1/2 cups chicken broth

Directions

Put the chicken in a large bowl and stir in the garlic, thyme, pepper, curry powder, lemon juice and salt. Cover and marinate for 3-4 hours. (I did not marinate mine that long and it was still tasty).

In a small bowl blend the peanut butter with a little of the chicken broth to make a smooth paste.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Add the onion and sauté until golden, about 15 minutes. Add the seasoned chicken. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the tomatoes and stir to combine.

Add in the peanut butter mixture and then add in the remaining chicken broth. Simmer gently for about 20-30 minutes. Add a little water if the sauce gets to dry.

Serve over rice with black beans and fried plantains.

For the plantains: I like to use good ripe ones. Split down the middle. Heat a skillet with about 2 Tbsp of butter. Add the plantains and sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon and turbanado sugar (optional). Cook until golden.

 

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.