Ham and Bean Soup

As soon as temperatures turn chilly in the Fall, soup is the first thing I turn to.  And one really great thing about this soup is that it is cooked in the crock-pot so its really easy.  🙂

Sorry, no picture.

Ham and Bean Soup

Source:  Budget Bytes

1 medium yellow onion

3 stalks celery

4 medium carrots

2-4 cloves of garlic, to taste

2 medium ham hocks

1 pound dry 15 or 16 bean soup mix {discard the seasoning mix that comes with it}

2 bay leaves

1 tsp dried ground thyme

1 tsp dried oregano

1 bouillon cube

ground pepper to taste

6 cups water

Directions:

The night before, pick over the beans for stones and debris, rinse and place in a large bowl and cover with 2x the water.  Let sit overnight.

In the morning, chop all of the veggies and garlic and place in the bottom of a large slow cooker. Lay the ham hocks on top.

Pour soaking liquid off beans, rinse again, and add beans to crock.  Add all seasonings and bouillon.  Top with water.  Lightly stir, but don’t disturb the ham hocks and veggies.

Secure the lid and cook on high for 4 to 6 hours or until beans are soft.

Remove the ham hocks and cut off any meat and add it to the soup {there will be very little meat, but the soup already has great ham flavor}. Discard the rest of the hocks.

Taste and adjust the seasonings.  Serve with garnishes and toppings of your choice.  We enjoyed it with hot sauce and sour cream on top and crusty bread alongside.

Enjoy!

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2 Ingredient Pumpkin Cookies

I know you’re thinking that that title must be too good to be true, but believe it.  These cookies only have two ingredients and they are really good!  So soft, and very flavorful.

1 box of spice cake mix

1 (15 oz) can of solid pumpkin puree

Mix together. Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto parchment lined baking sheets, bake for 10-12 minutes in a 350 degree preheated oven.  Allow them to cool and they can be enjoyed as is, or topped with cream cheese frosting and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon.

Enjoy!

Cauliflower Soup

Every year I make a ton of soup recipes throughout the fall and winter.  This cauliflower soup was one of the first that I made this year.

As usual I was pretty much winging it, but it is loosely based off the Pioneer Woman’s recipe.  I realized I didn’t have any milk in the house about half way through so I kind of panicked, but it all worked out in the end and I made it healthy in the process. Woohoo! {I mean, there’s still butter in it, but a lot less than the original.}

Go to the link below if you want to see PW’s original version.  She leaves hers chunky, and adds milk and cream.  I did not add any milk or cream, and I pureed the soup with an immersion blender.

Cauliflower Soup

Source:  Pioneer Woman

Ingredients:

2 T. olive oil

one medium white or yellow onion, finely diced

2-3 carrots, finely diced

2-3 celery stalks, finely diced

1 large head of cauliflower, roughly chopped

2 T. dried parsley

salt and pepper

1 carton (32 oz) low-sodium chicken broth

2-3 T. butter

3 T flour

Sour cream for serving – optional

Directions:

Add the oil to a soup pot that’s over medium heat.  Add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook for a few minutes, until they are tender and starting to brown.  Turn the heat to low and add the cauliflower and parsley and stir to combine.  Let that cook for just a few minutes to allow the cauliflower to brown very slightly.

Pour in the chicken stock or broth.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer until cauliflower is completely tender.

*This is where I panicked.*  So, off to the side, I melted a few tablespoons of butter and then added flour to it.  I cooked that for a few minutes hoping to eliminate the raw flour taste.  Then I added it to the soup as a thickener.  {PW added whole milk and half and half to the roux to create a white sauce.}

Stir the soup as it simmers and thickens, taste and add s & p.  Total simmering time should be about 15-20 minutes, during that time I pureed it with an immersion blender but you could transfer it to a blender or food processor in batches if you would like.  Or like I said above, PW leaves hers chunky.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt.

Enjoy!

Tilapia & Quinoa with Basil and Pine Nuts

This really isn’t a recipe, but I thought I would share anyway since it involves my new favorite side-dish QUINOA.  Maybe it will give you inspiration to try something new?!

The other night I cooked a cup of quinoa in plain water as directed on the package.  Once the quinoa was cooked and liquid was absorbed, I stirred in a small handful of chopped fresh basil and a handful of pine nuts.

I served the quinoa with sauteed tilapia (pan fried?  I don’t know what you call it but I just cooked the fillets until opaque in a non-stick pan coated with Pam spray}.  I topped the tilapia with Parmesan and more basil. You could also bake the tilapia with a Parmesan crust.

It was light and tasty!  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Oatmeal

So, I’ve been on a baked oatmeal kick lately.  I’ve made the fruit and oatmeal recipe twice, and now I have this wonderful baked pumpkin oatmeal to share with you.  I found it on a blog that I recently discovered called Budget Bytes and as you would expect, she offers recipes that are very budget conscious.  But, more importantly, they are always delicious and usually healthy too.  I’ve made one other recipe from her site so far and I’ll post about it later.

I really only have a few things to say about this recipe.  First is that the pumpkin flavor is very prominent {in the best possible way}.  Next, the texture is almost spongy.  Its hard to describe, but also good, just different from the other baked oatmeal that I tried.  And lastly I think I’ll add raisins next time and maybe chopped nuts too. 🙂

Pumpkin Oatmeal

Source: Budget Bytes

serves at least 6

Ingredients:

1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree (not pie filling)

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp cinnamon {this was my addition because I love cinnamon!}

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1.5 cups milk {I used almond milk}

1/2 cup plain greek yogurt

2.5 cups dry old-fashioned oats

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.  In large bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, spices, salt, and baking powder until smooth.  Then stir in the milk and yogurt.

Mix the dry oats into the pumpkin mixture, coat an 8×8 (or similar) baking dish with non-stick spray.  Pour pumpkin oats into the dish and cover with foil.  Bake for 45 minutes, removing the foil after the first 30 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

Topping options:  milk, maple syrup, nuts, raisins, a dash of cinnamon, and whipped cream.

Roasted Chicken Breasts and Broccoli

This was the most delicious meal!  Truly, it was fantastic.  I can’t say enough about it, it just really hit the spot.  It all started because I wanted to cook some chicken breasts on a Sunday night to have on hand to eat during the week.  I’m trying to cook more on weekends because I just don’t have the desire to cook on weeknights anymore.  I’ve lost my gumption I tell you!   Anyway, then I saw this roasted broccoli recipe on Pinterest and decided to combine the two recipes into one meal.

The chicken was great, but the broccoli was my favorite part and now I want to eat it everyday.  The crispy bits of garlic were like candy.  🙂

Next time I make this meal I’ll probably prepare some brown rice to go with it.  And I wish I had a better picture because this one does it absolutely no justice!

 

Oven Roasted Lemon Chicken – serves 4

4 small chicken breasts {I had marinated the chicken in lemon juice for 20-30 minutes in the fridge, but that’s optional.}

drizzle of EVOO

s & p

minced garlic

dried herbs – parsley, rosemary, and thyme

Roasted Broccoli (adapted from Barefoot Contessa) – serves 2 or 3

1 large bundle of broccoli {about 4 cups once it was chopped up into florets}

3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

s & p

EVOO {about 4 tablespoons, just eyeball it}

Directions:

Cover two baking sheets with foil for easy clean-up.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the chicken on one pan, drizzle with a little oil, add salt and pepper, garlic, and herbs to the top of each breast.  Place in the oven and set a timer for 30 minutes.

After 10 minutes, add the baking sheet of broccoli to the oven as well {because it won’t take as long as the chicken}.  To prepare the broccoli for roasting, place the florets on the sheet pan, toss with oil, sliced garlic, and salt and pepper and then evenly spread the broccoli out.

Give the broccoli a stir/shake about half way through the baking time, some browning is normal.

Check the chicken after 30 minutes. The thickest part should no longer be pink.  May need 5 more minutes of cooking time.

When you remove the broccoli, zest a lemon over all {can squeeze with juice too, but I didn’t} and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese {I didn’t}.

Enjoy!

Pineapple Cashew Quinoa

I mentioned a few posts back that I love quinoa and that I would be posting more recipes using quinoa soon.  Well, here you go!  It is safe to say that I am now obsessed with quinoa and am constantly looking for new recipes.  I love how nutritious it is!

What is also perfect (sort of) is that Tim is back on second shift so I can do whatever I want for weeknight dinners.  This means chick food galore!  I can eat vegetarian meals, have a bowl of cereal, just eat hummus and veggies, or any other random thing at all.  Tim would not go for this quinoa meal alone {if at all?}; he would probably at least need shrimp or salmon to go alongside.  But this was just fine for me.

Pineapple Cashew Quinoa

1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup water

1 cup canned pineapple juice

1 tsp low sodium soy sauce

3/4 cup cashews, toasted

2 tsp sesame oil

1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

1 or 2 carrots, chopped small

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup frozen peas

1 can pineapple chunks {with juice reserved}

s & p – optional {I skipped adding salt because the cashews were salted}

Bring the water, tsp of soy sauce, and cup of reserved pineapple juice to a boil.  Add the quinoa, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for about 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

Meanwhile, toast the cashews in a dry skillet.  Then remove and set aside.  Add the sesame oil to the skillet, add the carrots, bell pepper, onion, and garlic.  Cook until crisp-tender.  Add the peas, then the pineapple chunks and heat through.  Then add the cashews and cooked quinoa.  Stir to combine.  Taste and add more soy sauce and/or salt and pepper.

Serve and enjoy!

I added sirracha to my serving and it was fantastic.

Other possible add-ins:

garbanzo beans

black beans

broccoli

edamame

fresh herbs

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