Creamy Broccoli Soup

creamy broccoli soupThere’s nothing like a bowl of creamy broccoli soup! Made this last night as a quick addition to my dinner, and is was pretty good if I do say so myself. I’ve tweaked this recipe a little to my liking by adding more milk then chicken stock, and it added a lot of creamy goodness! You can whip is up in a snap, and have it on your dinner table in under an hour. I used frozen broccoli florets in my recipe, but you may use fresh broccoli too. Here is how you can make this delicious creamy broccoli soup…

Ingredients You’ll Need

1 pound of broccoli, fresh or frozen

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

2 garlic cloves

1 small onion

1-2 tablespoons of flour

2 cups milk, any type

1/4 cup half and half

2 cups chicken stock, low sodium is what I used

salt and pepper to taste

nutmeg, just a dash

parmesan cheese for topping

bread sticks, sesame crackers, croutons, or whatever you like to dip into your soup.

In a large pot add your olive oil, butter, garlic, and onion. Let them soften a couple of minutes. Next add flour, this makes your soup thicken, stir well. Then add your chicken stock, milk, half and half, nutmeg, and of course broccoli. Let your soup cook on medium heat until broccoli is soft enough to puree in your blender. Mine took 30 minutes since my broccoli was frozen. Next puree your soup in batches in a blender, and add back to your initial pot. Taste your soup, this is where you add salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese. You may serve your soup in a bread bowl, yum, or have some crackers or croutons on the side. This recipe can serve 4-6 people depending how much you fill your bowls! Enjoy!

Julian’s Zucchini Pancakes

julianspancakes

I named this Julian’s Zucchini Pancakes because my baby boy Julian just loves zucchini! He gobbles up these pancakes like a champ! They are super easy to make and he loves them, that makes me smile :O)

Zucchini is one of those vegetables that’s very versatile. You can fry it like how I’m showing you today, my favorite… you can stuff it, make soup out of it, chop it with fellow vegetables, and so on and so on. It’s sweet and healthy, and always a staple in my home.

This simple recipe can also become breakfast, just add some toast. Or maybe just a side dish for dinner alongside some rice. It’s delicious no matter what time of day you make it. Just make it!  Here’s how easy they were to put together…

Ingredients

1 medium zucchini, shredded

1 egg beaten

2 tablespoons flour, this can vary

1 tablespoon parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon baking powder

olive oil for frying

butter for frying

salt and pepper to taste

In a medium sized bowl, add your shredded zucchini. I used my box grater, you may use a food chopper as well. Next you must drain out your zucchini. If you don’t your pancakes can be too soggy. I literally squeeze the life out of my zucchini by hand. You can also place your zucchini after shredded in a colander and let the water drip down into another bowl. This takes more time. If your like me and you want it done now, squeeze it! Now, add to your mixing bowl along with your beaten egg, parmesan cheese, baking powder, flour, salt and pepper. I do a dash of each salt and pepper, then add more salt later on. Check out your batter. Is it too watery? If so, add more flour. Mix well, and now your ready to fry. To a frying pan, add a tablespoon of olive oil and a pat of butter. Butter adds flavor, YUM! Use a spoon to make your pancakes. I used a tablespoon, and ended up with 10 zucchini pancakes.  My pan held about 5 pancakes, so keep adding more oil and butter for the next batch. After you are done frying, remove them from your pan and place on a dish lined with paper towel to remove excess oil. Sprinkle with more salt and that’s it! These are best if eaten right away. Why wait…Enjoy!

Pinto Bean Chicken Soup

beansoup

It’s a cold day here in New York, so I decided to make something to warm the heart and the stomach! This hearty pinto bean chicken soup is my take on soup meets chili. You can eat this by itself, or how I like it with a side a tortilla chips and a dollop of sour cream. It’s a recipe that can be made ahead of time, and be reheated when ready to use. You may store it in batches when you need a quick lunch or supper too!

Here’s what you’ll need to make this heart warming meal…

2-tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion

2 cloves of garlic chopped

3 carrots

2-3 small potatoes of your liking

1-15 ounce can of pinto beans. You can substitute for cannellini

1 cup chopped cooked chicken

2 cups low sodium chicken stock, I used organic free range

1/2 cup water

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

garlic powder

3 tablespoons cilantro chopped, or as much as you like

sour cream, low fat, non fat, or FULL Fat!

Tortilla chips

( some people add in celery, since I’m not a big fan I didn’t add any in)

In a large pot, heat up your olive oil. Add in onion and garlic and saute for a couple of minutes until softened. Then add your potatoes, and carrots. Stir well and add your chicken stock and half a cup of water. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, parmesan, and add bay leaves. Let simmer until your potatoes and carrots seem to soften a bit. Add your drained pinto beans and cooked chicken to the pot, stir occasionally. Let the soup cook on low for 30-40 minutes. Since your chicken is already cooked and the beans are right out of the can, they just need to be warmed through.  Check for salt. The chicken stock I use is always low sodium, so you may need a touch more salt. Add your cilantro just before serving as a garnish on top of each bowl. Break out the tortilla chips, and sour cream and you’ve got a really good one pot meal! Enjoy!

Baked Brown Sugar Acorn Squash

acornsquash

Tis the season for warm, acorn squash!

This recipe makes a great side dish on a cool Autumn night…I made this because I love all types of squash. Add a little brown sugar and butter and man this is oh so good! Your family will love it!

Here is what you will need:

1 acorn squash, mine was average size, good for 2 or 3

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons butter

cinnamon, to taste

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil, for drizzling

Once again, you may use more butter, brown sugar, whatever you like…

Rinse your acorn squash well, and slice in half. Place cut side up on a foil lined baking pan. In a small bowl, mix your brown sugar, and cinnamon, set aside. For the butter make sure it’s room temperature, and spread on top of each acorn squash. Then sprinkle on your brown sugar and cinnamon mixture. Use as much as you like. Drizzle with olive oil, and salt and pepper to your liking. Cover with foil and bake at 350F until squash is soft, tender, and butter is bubbly. If your squash needs more or less time, check on it. Mine took about an hour.  You may then serve the acorn squash alone and eat it right in it’s skin, or scoop it out in a bowl, and serve on your table to enjoy with your family!

You may add more toppings like pecans, fresh herbs if you like, but I like mine nicely sweetened with sugar and cinnamon! So does my son ;o) Enjoy!

Stovetop Mixed Vegetables

mixedveggies

You can’t eat too many vegetables, try this tonight, it only takes minutes to make!”

Here’s how I turned bland into pretty darn good! I will tell you for this I  used frozen vegetables. Being a pretty new mom, for me keeping some frozen veggies on hand helps for a quick addition to rice, pasta, soups, or even eaten all by themselves! Here’s how I made it.

What you’ll need:

A bag of frozen veggies. I used cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, yellow squash, and green beans. You can use whatever blend you like.

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 clove of garlic

salt and pepper to taste

onion powder to taste

parmesan cheese, 1-2 tablespoons, but make it as cheesy as you like!

In a medium sized pan, add you olive oil, and garlic. Let saute for a minute or so. Add in your frozen veggies. You may thaw them out first, but I have found that it’s not necessary. Stir to coat vegetables. Add in your salt, pepper, onion powder, and parmesan cheese when your veggies are slightly tender. Let the veggies cook until they are soft. You may then add more seasonings, or cheese to your liking. At times I have added more olive oil as well. You can really make this easy recipe al your own, and don’t worry about my amounts. Enjoy with a side of brown rice, and grilled chicken, beef or fish!

Creamy Cauliflower Mash

Creamy Cauliflower Mash

Creamy Cauliflower Mash

Replace mashed potatoes tonight with creamy cauliflower!

I wanted the creaminess of mashed potatoes but wanted something not so starchy, so I made this easy creamy cauliflower. It’s delicious and gives you the effect of mashed potatoes without too much guilt! Enjoy!

What you’ll need :

1 large Cauliflower head

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, more if you wish

2 tablespoons butter, again use more if you like

water

4 ounces low fat cream cheese

1-2 tablespoons parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

garlic powder

dried parsley flakes

Start by rinsing your cauliflower in cool water and cut into small pieces. Next in a large pot add your olive oil, garlic, and butter. Sautee for a minute. Don’t let the garlic burn, or it will become bitter. Add your fresh cauliflower and toss to coat. Add about 1/4 cup of water and cover to steam cook. If you need more water, just add to the pot when cooking. Once cooked through, you may then add the salt, pepper, garlic powder, cream cheese and parmesan. At this time you may begin to mash with a handheld masher or use a blender to make really creamy. I like mine a little chunkier in texture, so I used my handheld. Taste your cauliflower! You may need more seasonings, just don’t eat all of it, because it’s delish! Serve in a pretty dish with a dab of butter and sprinkle on some dried parsley, fresh if you like. Enjoy!