Tuscan White Bean Stew

This stew is warm, comforting, and super simple.  You can use dried cannellini beans in place of the canned, as long as you cook them ahead of time.

Tuscan White Bean Stew
adapted from Food to Live By

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 3 slices bacon, diced
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cans cannellini beans
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt 
  • freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a dutch oven over medium high heat.  
  2. Add bacon and cook until crispy, about 5 mins.  Remove the bacon bits, but keep leave the grease in the pot.  Add carrots and cook about 5 mins.  
  3. Add the stock, 2 cans beans, tomatoes, rosemary, salt and pepper; bring to a boil.  
  4. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer gently until heated through.  
  5. Meanwhile, puree remaining can of beans and stir into soup.  
  6. Add the balsamic vinegar and top with bacon bits..  Serve hot.
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Pumpkin, Black Bean, And Corn Chili

With Forrest out of town for a few days, I decided to make myself some chili.  I wanted to use ingredients that I had on hand, so I came up with the idea to make black bean chili.  I consulted Dara over at Cook in Canuck, because I’ve liked some of her soups before.  As luck would have it, she has a great recipe for Smoky Black Bean and Corn Chili.  I used her recipe as a template and modified it to both fit my tastes and what I had in my pantry.  While this isn’t a traditional “chili,” it hit the spot to satisfy my craving!

Pumpkin, Black Bean, & Corn Chili
Adapted from Cook in Canuck

Ingredients

  • 3/4 pounds dried black beans, cooked with water in pressure cooker
  • 2 10 oz bags frozen corn
  • 1/2 of a 15 oz can of pumpkin puree
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chipolte powder
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • sour cream
  • spicy cheese blend
Directions
Combine all ingredients except sour cream and cheese in a large dutch oven.  Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer until heated through.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cheese.

Pumpkin Gnocchi

I never thought I could love gnocchi more than I already did.  Then Forrest made me Pumpkin Gnocchi and I was in love.  Then I made Pumpkin Gnocchi and saw how much easier it is than potato gnocchi and I was in love.

Pumpkin Gnocchi
Adapted from The Foodess

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cup flour (approximately), plus more for hands and work surface
  • 3 tbsp butter

Directions

Set a large pot of water to boil. In a medium sized bowl, combine pumpkin, egg, salt and nutmeg. Add the flour in several additions, stirring to combine. Continue adding flour until the dough is firm enough to handle, but still somewhat sticky.  I find it easier to gently knead the flour in by hand.

With floured hands, pinch off about a quarter of the dough. Roll between palms and on floured work surface to make a 1-inch thick rope. Cut rope rope into 1-inch pieces. Repeat with remaining dough.  Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes to help it hold together when boiling.

Drop gnocchi into boiling water and cook until they rise to the surface, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large, heavy saucepan. Cook, stirring frequently, until butter browns and emits small puffs of smoke.

Drain gnocchi on paper towels, then add to brown butter and stir to coat.

Serve with sauce of choice or on it’s own topped with salt and parmesan cheese.

Roasted Tomato Soup with Broiled Mozzarella

Tomato plants love dry heat, so ours have been thriving with this heat wave.  As Forrest doesn’t eat raw tomatoes, and there’s only so many Caprese salads that I can eat in a day, I started to plan other ways to use the bounty, which of course led me to tomato soup.  There’s something about roasting the tomatoes first that brings out the best flavors.  Don’t let that part scare you, it actually makes the soup easier, but it does take a bit longer.

This recipe is easily adaptable based on the ingredients you have on hand.  I typically follow strict measurements, but in this case, it’s really just a work as you go kind of recipe.

Roasted Tomato Soup with Broiled Mozzarella
Ingredients:

6 lbs. fresh tomatoes- any variety will do
vegetable oil
salt
fresh ground pepper
1 cup fresh basil leaves
32 oz. chicken broth
3 fresh bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
8 oz. shredded mozzarella

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut tomatoes into quarters or halves, depending on size.  Place tomatoes on foil lined baking sheet, drizzle with oil, and sprinkle salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven for about an hour, or until caramelized & browned.

Pour tomatoes and juices into a blender, add basil leaves and puree.  I then poured them through a strainer to get out the seeds, but this isn’t necessary.  Pour puree into a medium pot, add about half of the chicken broth and bay leaves, stirring to combine.  Continue to add stock until desired thickness is reached.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and add salt and pepper to taste.

Place handfuls of shredded cheese on a parchment lined baking sheet, making sure the cheese is piled, but not too high.  Place under broiler until browned, about 5 minutes.  Let cool slightly to become crispy.

Garnish soup with mozzarella and enjoy!

Black Bean & Beet Burgers

I’ve never had a veggie burger.  Despite 10 years of not eating red meat, I never gave one a chance.  Now that I am a full fledged carnivore who tries to eat less meat, I’d been dying to try a veggie burger!  After scouring my cookbooks and the internet, I complied this recipe using leftovers that I had in my fridge.  I was shocked with how simple and delicious it was.

While this recipe couldn’t compete against my favorite bison burger, it holds it’s own to any healthy, average weeknight meal.

Black Bean & Beet Burgers

Ingredients
-1 cup beets, roasted, cooled, & shredded
-1 cup black beans, cooked & cooled
-1 cup brown, black or wild rice, cooked & cooled
-¼ cup oats
-½ cup wheat germ
-¼ cup Italian seasoning
-1 tbsp salt
-freshly ground pepper

Directions

1.  In the bowl of a food processor, fitted with the blade attachment, gently pulse all ingredients until thoroughly combined.  Place the mixture in the fridge for at least a half an hour to chill.

2.  Form perfect patties using a parchment covered baking sheet, a large cookie scoop, an English muffin ring, and an oiled spoon.  Drop 2 scoops on mixture into the ring on top of the parchment.  Lightly press mixture into ring with the spoon.  Gently remove ring, using your finger to prevent the mixture from tearing at the edges.  Otherwise, just shape them with your hands.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 and a cast iron skillet on medium high.  Pour a thin layer of oil into the skillet and, once the oil is hot, gently turn a burger or two into the skillet.  Cook about two minutes on each side, allowing the mixture to “brown.”  Place burger back onto parchment covered baking sheet, top with cheese, and finish heating in the oven until cheese is ooey gooey.

4. Serve on a toasted bun with your favorite toppings.

Split Pea Soup

Historically, I prejudged Split Pea Soup.  I mean, come on, who wants to eat a bowl of muddy, smashed green peas.  It certainly doesn’t look good.  And then we went to Colorado, specifically to the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs.  We’d just finished a few days of camping in the rain, sleet, and snow and all I wanted was a delicious homemade meal.  The Princeton Club offered Split Pea Soup as the soup of the day. After one bite, I was hooked, I couldn’t get enough of this green mush.
Once I got home, I forgot about the soup.  The food memory was overshadowed by all of the delicious meals I had during the rest of our trip.  And then I stumbled across Whole Food’s recipe for Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup.  A homemade soup with under 10 ingredients, including spices?!  Count me in.  Of course, I chose to adapt the recipe to our tastes and what I could buy organically, which got it down to 7 ingredients.  Oh, and I chose to use the electric pressure cooker, which meant the soup could be prepared, start to finish, in about 45 minutes.
Forrest asked me the other day why I was making so much Split Pea Soup.  I told him, it’s simple, it’s cheap, and it’s delicious.  What more could you ask for?

Recipe: Split Pea Soup
Adapted from Whole Foods
Click for Printable Recipe
Ingredients
  • 16 oz. split peas
  • 2 cups carrots
  • 1 meaty bone (frozen is ok)
  • 6-8 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp dried spices
  • 1/2 tbsp salt, more to taste
  • freshly ground pepper
Directions
  1. Layer ingredients in electric pressure cooker.  Set to high pressure for 25 minutes.
Or
  1. Layer ingredients in slow cooker.  Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.

Moroccan Lamb Tagine

After cooking mostly the same recipes for the past month, I decided it was time to get in the kitchen and whip up something new.  I was so pleased with how this tagine turned out.  The lamb was “melt in your mouth” tender and the spices were pleasantly warm.  The overall dish was slightly sweet, so I think I may leave out the honey next time around. 
Moroccan Lamb Tagine
Adapted from Closet Cooking
Marinade Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 pound lamb (cut into 1 inch cubes)

Cooking Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 carrots (cut into slim rounds)
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup dried dates (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup dried figs (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon parsley (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted almond slices

Instructions:

  1. Combine paprika, turmeric, cumin, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, salt, ginger, coriander, saffron, lemon zest and oil in a bowl.
  2. Add the lamb, mix well and place in a vacuum seal or zip lock bag. Marinate the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
  3. Heat the oil in a tagine or a Dutch oven.
  4. Add the lamb, brown well on all sides and set aside.
  5. Add tomato paste and cover with 4 cups stock.
  6. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer covered until the lamb is fall apart tender, about 2 hours.
  7. Add the carrots, apricots, dates, and figs.
  8. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the carrots are tender, about 20 minutes.
  9. Stir in the honey.
  10. Serve garnished with cilantro, parsley and toasted almonds.