Sunday, November 27, 2011

Leftover Mashed Potato Soup

Such a perfect way to use up an leftover mashed potatoes from Thanksgiving. It is so good that you will want to make mashed potatoes just so you can make this soup!

Serves 4

2 cups leftover mashed potatoes, brought to room temperature or microwaved for a minute to take the chill off (if you have any whole potatoes leftover, you can chop up a few and add along with the potatoes to make the soup chunkier)
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
32 oz chicken broth
2 tbs flour
1/4 c milk
1 cup frozen chopped broccoli, defrosted
1 tbs chives, plus more for garnish (I like the freeze dried chives you can find in your produce section, since I don't use chives often)
4 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a medium sized pot, heat a little olive oil over medium high heat and add onion. Once onion begins to soften add garlic and cook for about a minute. Add broth and potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and mix together milk and flour until it is smooth (mixture should be thick, think cake batter, but not lumpy, use a whisk and add more flour or milk if needed) and whisk into broth and potato mixture. Simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes to thicken, stirring occasionally. Add broccoli and chives once soup has thickened. Serve with bacon, cheese, and extra chives.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Lentil Soup with Bacon and Parmesan

It's a hearty and filling meal for the cooler weather. Feel free to leave off the bacon to make it totally vegetarian, but if you are down with bacon, I highly recommend it!

Serves 4, generously

1 tbs olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
3 stalks of celery, diced
3 carrots, cut into coins
1 1/4 c lentils, picked over and rinsed
32 oz broth
1 bay leaf (optional)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
4 slices of bacon cooked until crisp, crumbled
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat about one tbs of oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until it begins to soften, then add garlic and saute for a couple minutes. Add celery and carrots and continue to cook for about 5 minutes, or until softened slightly. Add lentils, bay leaf, thyme, and broth, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 40 minutes or until lentils are soft. If the broth has cooked down more than you would like, add enough water to thin out the soup. Remove bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle soup into bowls and top with the bacon and cheese.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tasty Trail Mix

Making your own trail mix is so easy and you can control the fat and salt, so it can be as healthy and whole as you want. Makes a great snack or addition to lunch and definitely works in the kiddos lunch boxes. Oh, and no, not all trail mix needs to involve Chex cereal. This recipes is simply a suggestion, you can add any mixture of seeds, nuts, and dried fruit you like.

1/2 c unsalted, raw pumpkin seeds
1/3 c dried cranberries
1/3 c dried cherries
1/3 c raisins
1/2 c banana chips, crushed up just a bit

Mix together and store in a plastic container.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes

You know how people on diets always wish there were "free" foods, ones that you can eat buckets of but never feel any repercussions. While there may not be any such food (darnit!), these pancakes are a pretty darn good compromise. They are healthy, low in fat, high in protein and fiber, and taste like they should make your behind double in size. Decadence and health. Yep, count me in!

1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/4 c protein powder
2 tbs flax meal
2 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 c fat free milk
1 tbs vegetable oil
1 banana, sliced
1/4 c semisweet chocolate chips

Combine flour, protein powder, flax, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add egg, milk, and oil. Mix wet and dry ingredients together until just combined. Stir in banana slices and chocolate chips.

Pour by 1/4 cupfuls onto a hot griddle sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown and solid in the middle.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

White Bean and Kale Soup

You will want to eat this soup for breakfast, it is that good.

Olive Oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 bunch kale, rinsed, stems removed, and leaves chopped
1 tsp of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

In a soup pot or dutch oven, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion begins to soften. Add red pepper, carrots and celery and cook until all the vegetables soften. Add in 1 can of the beans and two cups of the broth. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Using an immersion blender (or a regular blender, working in small batches) blend the soup until it has thickened and become smooth (blend more or less, depending on your preference). Add remaining broth, second can of beans, kale, and cayenne pepper. Simmer on low for about 30 minutes until kale is soft. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Red Beans and Rice

When my husband was deployed the first time and I moved into our first apartment by myself, I looked for easy things to make for one person. I love to cook, but I don't cook for just me, so I ate a lot of Lean Cuisine and easy boxed dinners like Zatarain's. While Zatarain's Red Beans and Rice is quite yummy, I realize now that the amount of sodium I took in was outrageous, and there is no way I will feed my little boy salty food like that. So I developed this yummy, cheap, and healthy dinner that is as good, if not better than the boxed stuff!

1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 gloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 cans red beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup uncooked brown or white rice
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less, depending on heat preference)
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp oregano
2 tsp chili powder
2 15 oz cans low sodium chicken/vegetable broth

In a large sauce pan with a lid, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil. Add onion, carrot, peppers, and garlic and saute until veggies soften. Add spices and rice and stir for about a minute, until coated. Add beans and broth, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook for about 30 minutes until rice is tender and liquid has greatly reduced.

Serve with green onions, sour cream, tortillas, corn bread or whatever your little heart desires.

My Favorite Smoothie

Don't be frightened by the "special" ingredient in this smoothie. You don't even taste it and with all its added benefits, it makes this smoothies especially healthy!

Serves about 2

1 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
1 to 1 1/2 cups frozen strawberries
1 banana
2 cups fresh spinach
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup nonfat milk

Place ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Use more or less liquid depending on how thin or thick you like your smoothie.