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Tuscan Beans and Spinach Soup with Homemade Croutons

I made this soup because it was actually below freezing here in Florida. I know that is just W.R.O.N.G. – WRONG. If I wanted to be in the cold, I would go up to New Hampshire. Actually I do go up there once a month, but not because I like the cold. Anyway, this soup just sounded perfect for the day.

The homemade croutons are a must. They take this soup to the next level of comfy, cozy goodness. The creaminess is easily done by pureeing part of the beans with broth. The lemon adds just a hint of zip to keep the soup from being boring. This recipe makes 4-6 servings. Oh, and it only takes 30 minutes to make. Here is another quick and tasty meal in 30 minutes flat to your table.

  • 2 15 oz cans cannnelini white beans, rinsed, drained, divided
  • 3 c vegetable broth, divided, 1c/2c
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp all-purpose seasoning
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 8 oz baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, seeded, chopped
  • 1/2 lemon, zested, juiced
  • Homemade Croutons

In a food processor or blender, blend together 1 can of cannelini beans and 1 c of vegetable broth until smooth and creamy. Set aside.

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In a large dutch oven, heat oil and saute onions with all-purpose seasoning until soft.

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Add garlic, red pepper flakes. Stir. Add spinach and stir. Cook until spinach is wilted.

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Add remaining beans and broth along with the tomato and lemon.

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Stir thoroughly. Bring soup to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, until heated through.

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Serve with homemade croutons. Eat. Enjoy.

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Spinach-Artichoke Zucchini Lasagna

I consider it a challenge to transform one dish into multiple different types of meals. I initially started with Warm Spinach-Artichoke dip served with bread and/or chips. Great for a large crowd or something very casual. Then I elevated the appetizer to Roasted Baby Potatoes with Spinach-Artichoke Dip Bites. This is perfect for a more intimate gathering, or if you want to serve something that is definitely going to get recipe questions. Mmm, so good.

Since I do not like to waste food I turned the dip into a filling for a Veggie Lasagna. One batch of the Spinach-Artichoke Dip made three different things. That makes me do a happy dance.

This dish is mostly assembly work because the filling is already made. One tool that would be tremendously helpful is a mandolin. I had bought one a few months back and this is the first time that I have got to use it. The mandolin is such a time saver when it comes to slicing the zucchini thin and evenly.

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  • Spinach-Artichoke Dip
  • GF No Cook Lasagna Noodles
  • Marinara Sauce (or you favorite Pasta Sauce)
  • 1 Zucchini, medium, thinly sliced
  • Nutritional Yeast Flakes ( I like Bob’s Red Mill)
  • Fresh Parsley, garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Using a 8×8 baking dish begin layering ingredients. ( You could use a large baking dish if needed for more servings, just adjust quantity of ingredients.

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Spread an even layer of the Spinach-Artichoke Dip on top of the lasagna sheets.DSC_0051

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Repeat layers : Sauce, Lasagna Sheets, Spinach-Artichoke Dip, and Zucchini.

If you have more room add an additional layer. Then top zucchini with marinara sauce and Nutritional Yeast.DSC_0054

Bake in oven for 40-45 minutes. Let rest at least 15 minutes. The rest time is important to keep the lasagna together when you dish it out.

Sprinkle some chopped fresh parsley.

Note: You can bake this ahead of time. To serve: slice and plate and then warm it up in the microwave.

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Baby Potatoes Topped with Spinach Artichoke Dip

The truth is I made this up for a meal for myself. It wasn’t this pretty, yet it is just as tasty. This is a little bit more elevated to the original Warm Spinach-Artichoke Dip just by switching out the base ingredient. These would be great for small parties : Baby showers, Dinner parties, and even a Girl’s Night In. There are so many possibilities.

I have a secret for you, but you can tell anyone you want. I used leftover roasted baby potatoes for these little delectable bites. The combination is … it is so hard to put the right words for these little bites. They are that good and they look pretty.

I promise people will think you worked really hard. I made these a day ago. All I had to do was warm the spinach dip and baby potatoes in the microwave and assemble. However, they are just as good cold.

  • Spinach-Artichoke Dip
  • Roasted Baby Potatoes
  • Fresh Parsley

Slice as many Roasted Baby Potatoes as you think you will need. I would use about 4 halves per person. Warm in microwave (if using leftover, cold potatoes). Otherwise, slice potatoes in half when you are able to handle them.

Warm Spinach-Artichoke Dip in microwave until heated through. Length of time depends on your microwave.

Assembling is extremely simple. I like to give the potatoes a light smash, just enough to give them a slightly flat base. This helps the potatoes stay upright. Put a dollop of dip on top of the potato. I used a teaspoon, however you could use a snipped ziplock bag and pipe it onto the potato. That would probably be easier. Garnish with a fresh parsley leaf.

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Share. Eat. Enjoy.

 

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Warm Spinach Artichoke Dip

I plan on using this dip for our Super Bowl Party. The boys (men) all come over and we eat and watch the commercials and the game too. So I am testing it out now, you know, just in case there needs to be any tweaking to the recipe. However, I think it is perfect the way it is.

I will probably be working on a couple more recipes for the big game. So keep a watch out for more to come.

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbs garlic, minced
  • a couple of dashes of red pepper flakes
  • 8 oz. baby spinach
  • 16 oz. silken tofu, drained
  • 1/2 c nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tsp all-purpose seasoning, divided, (2 tsp- 1/2 tsp – 1/2 tsp)
  • 14 oz canned artichoke hearts, drained
  • Bread or tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 8×8 baking dish

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp of all-purpose seasoning onto onions ; stir. Cook until onion are softened and golden.

Reduce heat to medium-low and add artichoke hearts, spinach and 1/2 tsp of all-purpose seasoning. Stir mixture until spinach is wilted.

In a blender or food processor, blend together tofu, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and 2 tsp all-purpose seasoning until smooth. Add onion, spinach and artichoke hearts to tofu mixture. Pulse about 15 times. Add red pepper flakes.

Pour mixture into prepared baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes, until top of dip is golden.

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Let cool about 5 minutes. Serve with bread, crackers or tortilla chips.

Share. Eat. Enjoy.

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Quinoa and Veggie Bowl

This bowl is so full of color and flavor. You can feel the pop of the quinoa when you take a bite. There is a hint of lemon to brighten the dish and cilantro to give it some freshness.

What I like is that you can add just about any kind of veggies that you desire. This is what I had in my refrigerator at the time. Sometimes I add zucchini, yellow squash and kale. I try to change it up whenever I make it so it is not the same every time.

  • Avocado oil
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1 c carrots, diced
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • all-purpose seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 c quinoa
  • 2 c vegetable broth
  • Lemon, zested, use juice of half the lemon
  • 4 oz spinach, fresh, chopped
  • 1 1/2 c cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Cilantro, fresh, garnish

Over medium-high heat add avocado oil to a large dutch oven. Warm avocado oil; add onion, carrots, yellow pepper, garlic and bay leaf. Stir. Season mixture generously with the  all-purpose seasoning, stirring occasionally. Cook until carrots are tender and onions are softened and translucent. Remove from dutch oven and set aside.

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Pour vegetable broth into dutch oven and scrape any bits that may have formed in the pan. Add quinoa and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover with lid. Cook until all liquid is absorbed and the quinoa has popped (looks like little rings).

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Turn heat off. Add spinach, lemon zest, lemon juice, spinach and tomatoes. Cover with lid and let the spinach wilt and the tomatoes warm . This only takes a couple of minutes. Top with cilantro.

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Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

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Saffron Chickpeas and Spinach Soup

I was inspired to make this soup when I saw a similar recipe in a magazine. I knew when I saw it I was going to make this within a day.  What was nice is that I had everything in my pantry or refrigerator. I love it when a plan comes together.

This soup is creamy by blending half of it in the blender. Yet, it still has a chew from the unblended part. It is bright from the addition of lemon. The lemon works really well with the chickpeas and spinach. There is a special ingredient too – Saffron. The saffron can be pricey, but it is so worth it in this dish.

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 tsp ginger, minced
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 8 oz, mushrooms, sliced
  • 12 oz cauliflower rice
  • 1 tsp saffron threads
  • 1 bay leaf, dried
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained, rinsed
  • 4 c vegetable broth, divided in half
  • 1/2 bag baby spinach, roughly chopped

In a large dutch oven over medium-high heat add about 2-3 tbsp of the vegetable broth onion, mushrooms, cauliflower, saffron, bay leaf and lemon zest to the the pan. Cook until onions are translucent and softened; stirring occasionally. Add chick peas. Stir until heated through. Transfer half of the onion mixture to a blender or food processor. Add 2 cups of the vegetable broth. Blend until mixture is creamy. Return blended mixture to dutch oven and stir. Add remaining vegetable broth and spinach. Stir and cook just until spinach has softened.

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Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

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The Chunky Monkey

My husband bought me a Vitamix for Christmas. I am so excited to be using it today. This recipe is designed for two, but can be modified for more. I initially made it into a smoothie, but then you would have to delete the chunky part, because it was incredibly smooth and creamy. So I thought I would change it up to a breakfast bowl. Then you can choose how you would prefer to eat/drink your breakfast, with a straw or a spoon.

Then I thought, this does not have to be for breakfast, it could be a snack or a dessert. So I had to change the title from Chunky Monkey Breakfast Bowl to just: The Chunky Monkey, because you can make it or it eat any way or time you want.

Note: If blending for a smoothie I would add 3-4 ice cubes to give it more of a cold shake feel, or you can use frozen bananas.

  • 3/4 c almond milk
  • 1 tbsp almond butter or peanut butter
  • 1 tsp monk fruit
  • 1 tsp raw cacao
  • bananas (2-4)

Combine, milk, nut butter, dates and cacao in a blender and blend until smooth. Add more milk if needed to bring to your desired consistency. Taste for sweetness. If needed, add another date.

Place sliced banana(s) in bowls. Pour blended mixture over bananas. Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

Note: You can store any leftover sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Smoothie

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Peanut Noodles with Vegetables

What is nice about this recipe is that you probably have all the ingredients in your refrigerator or pantry. This recipe is vegan, however you could add some chicken to it for your carnivores and it would be just as good.

I am actually eating this while I type this post, because it is that good and I could not wait. There are a few advantages to this dish. 1) I used the leftover vegetables that I had roasted for the Forbidden Rice and roasted Vegetables Bowl. 2) This dish only takes 20 minutes to make.  3) You can serve it hot or cold. Either way it is delicious.

  • 8 oz pasta of choice
  • 1 c pasta water, reserved before draining pasta
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 3 cloves, garlic, grated
  • 1/4 c peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp coconut aminos (low sodium soy sauce can be substituted)
  • 3-4 c chopped vegetables
  • Sprinkle of red pepper flakes
  • Cilantro, fresh, garnish

Pasta:

Cook the noodles according to the package instructions. Reserve 1c of pasta water, then drain well in a colander.

Sauce:

Combine Pasta water, ginger, garlic, peanut butter, maple syrup and coconut aminos in a medium size saucepan over medium-high heat.

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Stir sauce continuously until well combined.

Pulling it together:

Return pasta to pot that they were cooked in. Add vegetables and sauce.

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Stir. The sauce will thicken and stick to the pasta. Sprinkle red pepper flakes and cilantro. Stir.

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Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

Note: This recipe serves 4. However, you could double it and have leftovers for lunches the next day. Also, use whatever veggies you have on hand. I did and it turned out great.

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Smokey Southwestern Black Bean And Forbidden Rice Bowl

This meal came about by combining two delicious ingredients with a few toppings. I first made the Smokey Southwestern Black Bean Soup. The next day I made a Black Rice and Roasted Vegetable Bowl. This is the mashup of the two. This meal is packed with nutrition, fiber and total goodness. I added some fresh avocado, coconut yogurt and fresh herbs to make it the perfect bite. The yogurt adds a tang and creaminess; while the herbs add freshness, and of course the avocado is just plain good. I am really liking the combination of the two meals.

Since all the ingredients are already made it is just a matter of assembling. However, I will add the links from the two separate meals so that you have the recipes.

These are the portion sizes I used for this serving. Assemble in order of ingredients.

  • 1/2 c Forbidden Rice
  • 1 c Smokey Southwestern Black Bean Soup

Warm in microwave until hot. Add remaining ingredients in order.

  • 1 heaping tbsp coconut yogurt
  • 2 slices of avocado
  • Cilantro for garnish.

Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

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Forbidden Rice Bowl and Roasted Vegetable Bowl

I had some Forbidden Rice at a restaurant sometime ago. I cannot remember the restaurant or when it was, but I do remember how good it tasted. I had purchased a bag of this delicious rice with intentions to make this delectable rice myself. I bought the Forbidden Rice and then put it into the pantry to be forgotten. The rice was found when I decided to clean out and organize my pantry.

To my surprise and delight I found this treasure and decided to bring it to you. Forbidden Rice is also called Black Rice due to its color, yet when it is cooked it turns into a purplish hue.

I hope this will inspire you to try something new this week. It is still as good as I remember.

Forbidden Rice:

  • 2 c vegetable broth
  • 1 c Forbidden Rice (black rice)

Roasted Vegetables:

  • 2 c carrots, sliced
  • 1 c parsnips, sliced
  • 1 bag broccoli (12.6 oz) frozen
  • avocado oil
  • All-purpose seasoning
  • Fresh Herbs, garnish

In a medium size saucepan add vegetable broth and rice. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cover with lid. Simmer about 30 minutes, or until liquid is completely absorbed. Fluff rice with fork.

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Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Scatter carrots, parsnips and broccoli onto a sheet pan.

Drizzle avocado oil onto veggies. Sprinkle all-purpose seasoning onto veggies and stir.

Roast veggies for 25 minutes. Stir veggies midway through roasting time.

Assemble bowl:

Layer your base – Forbidden Rice

Top with veggies and fresh herbs.

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Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

 

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Smokey Southwestern Black Bean Soup

I had been planning to make this soup for days. The day before I did all my dicing and mincing so that while we were out and about the following day we could have a hot and nutritious soup cooking away in the slow cooker. Every few hours my husband would say, “It smells so good.” I love hearing that from him.

Serve this with a slice my Gluten Free Sandwich Bread and you have a filling nutritious meal. This makes enough to have some for lunch the next day and freeze some for a future meal. That is what I plan on doing.

Sine I did all the prep work the day before all I had to do was put all the ingredients into the slow cooker, set it, and let it do its work.

  • 3 cans Black Beans, low sodium
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 c carrots, diced
  • 1/2 c celery, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 can tomatoes, low sodium, diced
  • 2 c corn, frozen
  • 15 oz butternut squash, cubed, frozen
  • Smokey Southwestern Seasoning
  • plain coconut yogurt, garnish
  • cilantro, garnish

Into a slow cooker (crock pot) add all the ingredients, except the yogurt and cilantro. You will be using those to garnish each bowl of soup. Make sure you generously season with the smokey southwestern seasoning.

Set slow cooker to low and let it go all day. Stir occasionally, and taste for seasoning. I added more seasoning when I did a taste test.

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Serve with a dollop of plain coconut yogurt and some fresh cilantro. Eat. Enjoy.

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Brussel Sprouts and Cranberries 3.0

This might just might be my favorite version of Brussel Sprouts and Cranberries. The original version was Brussel Sprouts and Cranberries. The second version I add butternut squash, just as appealing and tasty as the first. However, this version ranks right up there with the first two.

The 3.0 version uses compound butter, an orange and pecans – Yum. Just a little twist, but oh so good.

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  • 1 pound of Brussel sprouts, halved
  • 1 c cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 c pecan, pieces
  • 3 tbsp compound butter, cut into cubes (see website)
  • all-purpose seasoning (see website)
  • 1/4 c maple syrup

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spread Brussel sprouts, cranberries, pecans evenly onto a sheet pan.  Dot compound butter onto Brussel sprout mixture. Generously sprinkle all-purpose seasoning onto veggies.

Roast in oven about 20 minutes or until Brussel sprouts are fork tender.  Stir vegetables about midway through roasting time.

Drizzle Maple syrup over veggies. Stir. Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

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