Roasted Butternut Squash and Veggie Soup

Hope you all are enjoying your weekend so far! As I mentioned in an earlier post, I made some yummy recipes last weekend when it was cold outside and I hoped to share a few of them with you.  The cold didn’t last long, yesterday’s high was almost 90.  Welcome to Texas weather.

My favorite was the soup I made. I’m a terrible food photographer but I did take a pic of the finished product. If you thought soup was hard to make, think again. This is really easy and really good for you too! It takes some pre-dinner prep work but will make your house smell great all day.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Veggie Soup

Ingredients:

1 medium size Buternut Squash

2 celery stalks

2 cups mini-carrots

1 cup chopped cauliflower

1 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic

1 tsp nutmeg

Vegetable Broth

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

 

Directions:

Roast all vegetables first. Cut the butternut squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds/pulp. Rub the inside with olive oil and sprinkle with salt pepper and nutmeg. Place flesh side down on baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees for almost an hour.

If you have room in your oven, roast the other vegetables at the same time. In a 9×13 baking dish, combine the garlic, carrots and cauliflower. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for almost an hour.

Once all the veggies are roasted, scoop out the squash flesh into a bowl and put aside. In a large saucepan or dutch oven, saute onion and celery in 2 tbsp olive oil until softened. Add squash and other roasted vegetables to pan and mix well. Pour in vegetable broth until all veggies are completely covered and let simmer for 30 minutes.

Put all contents into a blender (careful, it’s hot!) and puree until smooth and creamy. Add more broth if the soup is too thick for your liking.

Pour into serving bowls and enjoy!

YUM!

Yummy Roasted Chickpeas….Just Cuz

Random post:  I’m finally caught up waking with work today and I’m sitting here reading my favorite blogs and munching on the most yummy snack ever.  Spicy roasted chickpeas (garbanzo beans).  I just discovered making them this way a few days ago.  My first attempt went bad — they burnt,  but the ones I have today…aaaaah, party in my mouth.  I thought I’d share the goodness.

So here’s how you make them:

Take a can of chickpeas and rinse them really good. Get all that starchy water off of them.  Then dump them out on some paper towels and dry them off completely. Throw them in a bowl and mix with about 2 tbsp olive oil and spices to your liking.  I used garlic powder,onion powder, red pepper flakes, salt and paprika. Stir them so that all the beans are coated well. Put them in a shallow pan (just a regular aluminum pan worked the best for me) and roast for 35 minutes on 375 degrees, shaking the pan every 10 minutes or so.  After 35 minutes is up, I added just a few squirts of soy sauce and shook them again — baked for another 10 minutes.

You can eat them right away or like me, put them in a bag and take them to work.  Or wherever.  I thought next time I would try using buffalo wing sauce…I love spicy stuff.  Good luck with them, lemme know how you like it!

These are not *exactly* the same chickpeas I’m eating at this very moment, but they will look like this when done. I found this pic on About.com

 

Warning:  It really is true what they say about beans, beans the musical fruit….eating these could be hazardous to the health of those around you.  Seriously.

You’ve been warned

 

Hawaiian Vegan Wraps with Cilantro Lime Rice. Vegetarian version too!

 

Cilantro Lime Rice

Long grain or Brown rice

¼ cup lime juice

1/3 package McCormick Mojito Lime Seasoning

Chopped cilantro

Cook rice according to package instructions but substitute ¼ cup of the water for lime juice and add seasoning.  When done, add cilantro to taste and fluff with fork.

It’s like Franks Red Hot Sauce….I put this S*** in everything!

Mojito Lime Portobello mushroom Wraps

2 large portobello mushroom caps, chopped

2/3 packet McCormick  Cilantro Lime seasoning (or to taste, I love this stuff)

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 giant burrito size flour tortillas

Shredded Cheese

Chopped cilantro

Butter/margarine

In bowl mix mushrooms with olive oil, vinegar and seasoning.   Toss to coat. Saute mixture on medium heat until mushrooms are cooked through and have the consistency of meat.

Mushroom “meat”

Layer cheese, cilantro and mushrooms on tortilla.  I like to add some of the rice too.

Vegetarians eat good too ya know!

Roll up burrito style.  Brush on butter each side and grill on griddle until both sides are golden and crispy.

Yummy Yummy in my tummy!

Low Fat Banana Bread Blueberry Muffins

I was experimenting and came up with this recipe last night. I wasn’t sure how they would come out but they actually were quite yummy. It’s low fat because there is no butter or oil. I substituted applesauce instead.

*Be sure to use aluminum muffin cups or spray with non-stick spray, as the paper ones tend to stick to the muffin.

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
1 cup white sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tap ginger
2 cups mashed overripe bananas
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs
1 pint blueberries

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prep muffin pan
2. Mix together bananas, eggs, applesauce and sugar in small bowl.
3. In large bowl, mix dry ingredients well.
4. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix just until moistened. Fold in blueberries.
5. Drop by spoonfuls in muffin pan and bake for approx 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near middle comes out clean.
6. Cool on wire rack.

Makes 24 muffins

You can make these with or without the blueberries 😉

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Strawberry Vinaigrette Dressing

I had another bunch of kale and half of a pound of strawberries left that I needed to do something with before going bad. I’ve never made a strawberry vinaigrette before but I thought I’d take a stab at it and it came out pretty good! I hope you think it’s yummy too!

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Ingredients:

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 pint strawberries, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Directions:

1. Blend strawberries and vinegar in food processor or blender until a liquid consistency is reached.
2. Pour into bowl and whisk in remaining ingredients.
3. Store in refrigerator for up to 5 days.

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Eggplant Parmesan Pizzas

One of my all-time favorite Italian foods is eggplant parmesan.  It’s not always the healthiest option however it’s one of my comfort foods and I love making (and eating) it when I need to feel…..complete.

This recipe for eggplant parm “pizzas” is a great alternative to making a whole 9x13in pan when you are short on time.  Since I’m a vegetarian but my husband and kids are not, I usually make this for myself when making a meat-meal for them.

This recipe calls for frying the eggplant.  I know it is not the best choice but I have attempted baking the eggplant instead and it just doesn’t taste the same.  However, you can do either.  Baking takes a little longer and the eggplant will come out a bit chewier.

 

Ingredients:

1 whole eggplant, size depending on how hungry you are!

2 eggs

2 cups Italian breadcrumbs

2 cups marinara sauce (from scratch or bottled)

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Salt to taste

Canola or Vegetable Oil for frying

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350

Scramble eggs in a small bowl, empty breadcrumbs into  a larger bowl

Cut eggplant into ¼ inch thick rounds, skin on

Dredge rounds into egg, then into breadcrumbs to coat

With enough oil in frying pan to cover eggplant rounds (about 1 inch), drop in and fry each for approx.  1-2 minutes on each side until a nice, golden brown color is reached.  Drain on paper towels for about 5 minutes, salt to taste.

Line baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.  Place rounds on baking sheet and top each with sauce and cheese.  Bake in oven uncovered for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

My Copycat Kale Cranberry Pepita Salad Recipe

You can see from a previous post my love for Central Market’s Kale Cranberry Pepita salad. I don’t live close to a Central Market so I’m not able to get my hands on it that often, not to mention it’s $5.99/lb! Going by the ingredient label on the salad container I decided to try and make my own. It came out excatly like the real thing! Here’s the recipe, let me know what you think!

Ingredients;

1 large bunch of raw, rinsed, stemmed and chopped kale (yields about 6 cups)

1/2 cup canola oil

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

1/2 cup orange juice

1/8 cup soy sauce

1 tsp minced onions (in lieu of shallots)

1 tsp ground ginger

1 handful craisins or dried cranberries

1 handful roasted pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)

1 handful chopped or slivered almonds (roasted or raw)

pinch of salt & pepper

1/2 tsp salt

Optional: slivers of candied ginger to taste (I don’t like it, but it’s in the original salad)

Directions;

Mix all of the ingredients except for the cranberries and seeds together in bowl with a whisk until well combined. Pour on top of kale and mix well until all leaves coated. Sprinkle on the cranberries, almonds and pepitas. Let salad sit for at least 1 hour in the fridge so that kale softens up a bit. Best if eaten the next day!

You can see mine looks just like the store bought kind and tastes the same too!

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Rave: Best Salad in All the Land

Take a look at this:

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This is a kale and pepita salad with orange vinegarette and cranberry dressing from Central Market. It is SO yummy and kale is really good for you.

Looks easy to make too…kale, roasted pepitas, craisins, almonds and candied ginger. The dressing is just olive oil, orange juice, rice vinegar, and a little salt.

If you let it sit for a while before eating, the kale will soften up. It’s best the 2nd day!

Spicy Sauteed Shrimp with Garlic Brown Rice

This is a heart healthy light meal that will have your tastebuds dancing for joy! 

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Ingredients:

 

Brown Long Grain Rice

1/2 white onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

Red Pepper flakes to taste

Salt to taste

1/2 tsp basil leaves

2 tbs Olive Oil

Vegetable Broth

1 lb cleaned,  peeled shrimp, deveined

 

Preparation:

 

Prepare rice according to package directions, except substitue vegetable broth for water to add flavor.  Set aside

 

In a medium skillet, heat 1 tbs of the olive oil, add garlic and onion.  Sautee until onions are tender.  Add salt and red pepper to taste.  Spoon garlic mixture into prepared rice and stir to mix flavors.

 

In same skillet, heat remaining 1 tbs of olive oil and sautee shrimp until pink (about 3-4 minutes).  Season with basil and salt to taste.  Add additional red pepper flakes if you like it hot!

 

Serve dishes separately or mix together for a spicy, garlicky shrimp and rice bowl!

Vegan Blueberry Pancakes

The thought of cooking and baking without eggs or egg products really was mind boggling to me so I decided I would try to turn a few favorites into egg-less vegan versions.  One of my first attempts were these blueberry pancakes.  You can use frozen blueberries but fresh just makes them taste so much better!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup flour (you can use white or whole wheat)

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 cup almond milk

1 cup fresh blueberries

Preparation:

Pour almond milk in a small bowl and mix in vinegar.  Set aside.

Sift together dry ingredients into large bowl.

Add in almond milk mixture and mix until blended.  If the mixture seems too pasty or thick you can add in a bit more milk until you reach your desired consistency.

Add blueberries and stir.

Drop 1/4 cup at a time onto a greased, heated griddle, turn over once during cooking.

Makes about 10-12 4-5inch pancakes.