Friday, January 31, 2014
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Red Bean and Ham Soup
There is nothing as comforting or restoring than a steaming bowl of soup on a cold winter day. Savory soup will satisfy even the hungriest appetite, yet still enable a person to stick healthy eating habits. Filled with vitamin rich vegetables, lean meat, and flavorful broth, it’s a delicious way to fill up without feeling guilty. The thing that many people don’t realize is - it is so easy to make. I hear the objections right now: “It takes too long; who can remember to soak beans overnight?”, “Beyond this cooks skill level!”, or “The soup I make is watery and tasteless”. I promise you, that with canned beans and canned broth - this soup is a snap to make. I make this when I have to have something ready really fast. It's one of Roy's favorites and it's equally as good with great northern beans and chicken broth instead of the red beans and beef broth.
Ingredients for Four Servings:
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 (15 oz.) cans beef broth
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes (optional)
1 (15 oz.) can red beans, rinsed and drained
1 (8 oz.) package cubed ham (1 cup)
2 generous tablespoons of tomato paste
The first step of almost every soup recipe calls for slowly cooking diced celery and onion (and often sliced carrots) in a bit of oil until tender. I like to speed things up a bit by putting these vegetables in a glass bowl, covering it with plastic wrap, and microwaving them on regular power for six minutes.
After the carrots, celery, and onions are done cooking, transfer them to a large soup pot. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well to combine.
Bring the ingredients in the pot up to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium and simmer for about ten minutes.
Ladle into bowls and serve.
Friday, January 17, 2014
Quinoa Veggie Soup
To be honest, I've dragged my heels on jumping on the quinoa band wagon. My health conscious sister's family mentions it as part of their usual fare. I've seen all the photos and recipes out in the cyber world that talk about what a super food it is - full of protein and fiber. I tried it a couple of times and just didn't think it tasted all that great. But then I saw Jennifer's roommate in California cooking up a batch, adding yummy things to it, and actually looking like she enjoyed eating it! I still had a bag of it in my pantry, so when I found a recipe for Quinoa Vegetable Stew in the cookbook, Soups, Stews, and Chilis by American Test Kitchen, I decided I'd give it another try. The recipe posted here is a modified version of theirs. I skipped putting in the potatoes they suggested, but I bought right in to garnishing it with cilantro, salty cheese, and avocado - practically anything would taste great with those on top of it! This soup is surprisingly good and satisfying. I have found that when the spices of cumin and coriander are combined, the flavors sing. As suggest in the cookbook, this is delicious with eggs poached on top of it or chicken added to it if more protein is desired.
Ingredients for four servings:
1 red pepper
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 garlic cloves, put through a press
3 (14.5 oz.) cans broth (vegetable, chicken, or beef)
1 cup quinoa, well rinsed and drained
1 cup corn, frozen or from can
1 cup frozen peas
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes or 2 large fresh tomatos
1/4 cup queso fresco or feta cheese, crumbled
Small handful of cilantro leaves, chopped
Wash, seed and dice the red pepper. Peel and dice the onion. Saute the pepper and onion in the olive oil over medium low heat until they are tender. Add the paprika, cumin, coriander, pepper, and garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Then add the broth and bring it up to a boil.
Next, add the quinoa and turn the heat down to medium. Simmer for 10 minutes. Now add the corn, peas, and tomatoes. Bring the soup back up to a boil, turn the heat back down to medium, and simmer for another 10 minutes.
Chop the cilantro, cube the avocado, and get the cheese crumbles ready. Sprinkle some of each atop each bowl of soup and enjoy!
Thursday, January 9, 2014
Chicken Soup with Rice is ...Nice!
According to my Google search, January is . . . . National Careers in Cosmetology Month, National Eye Health Care Month, National Fiber Focus Month, National Hobby Month, National Soup Month, Hot Tea Month, Oatmeal Month, and Prune Breakfast Month! I think the best one to celebrate is soup, especially since it's satisfying yet healthy enough to let one stick to a resolution to eat right. Roy and I love to have soup for dinner during these chilly days and this simple one is a favorite. He challenged me to put some of our favorite soups up on the blog this month, so here is the first one. Enjoy!
Simple and Easy Chicken Soup with Rice - Serves 4
1 cup cooked rice - white, brown, or wild
1 medium onion
2 celery stalks
3 good sized carrots
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
2 cooked chicken breasts or a roasted chicken from the store (about 3 cups)
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 (15 oz.) cans chicken broth ( about 6 cups)
If you haven't already cooked the rice, do that first. It can cook while you are putting everything else together and be ready to throw in at the end. Cook the rice according to package directions, but typically for 1 cup of cooked rice, you stir 1/2 cup uncooked rice into boiling water and cover it. Reduce the heat to low and let the rice absorb the water. It will take about 20 minutes for white rice but up to 40 if you are using wild rice.
Wash, peel, cut off the ends and slice the carrots. It should yield about 3/4 to 1 cup worth. Wash the celery stalks, cut off the ends, cut down the middle, and then slice. You should have about 3/4 to 1 cup worth as well. Peel the onion and dice it. It should also amount to about 3/4 to 1 cup full.
The next step is to saute the carrots, celery and onions in the olive oil until they are tender. If I am in a hurry, I put them in a bowl along with the olive oil, cover the bowl and zap them in the microwave on regular power for 6 minutes, Then I put them in the soup pot. Or, you can just saute them directly in the pan like most people do!
While the vegetables are cooking, dice the cooked chicken breasts or take the meat off of a grocery store bought roasted chicken. (To cook chicken breasts or other parts, I just put them in a pan and cover them with water. I bring the water up to a boil then turn it down to medium low and let them simmer for 20 minutes or until no longer pink inside. It is nice to throw a peeled carrot, peeled onion, and/or celery stalk in the pot to give the chicken more flavor.)
When the vegetables are tender, add the cooked chicken, cooked rice, basil, thyme, pepper, and chicken broth to the soup pot. Bring it up to a boil, then reduce the heat. The soup can be eaten immediately, but if you let it simmer for 10 to 15 minutes more, the flavors meld together.
This makes a filling meal, especially with a nice green salad. Enjoy and stay warm!
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