Tag: packed lunch

Pepperoni Minestrone

Big snowstorm = Big pot of soup.

This week, I decided to try Pepperoni Minestrone, loosely based on this recipe from Eating Well.  I normally make vegetarian soups, so this was a nice change of pace.  The (turkey) pepperoni is really just an accent, but it does add flavor.

I thought I didn’t have any pasta left in the house after my Tuna Noodle Casserole, but I had some leftover lasagna noodles from the Crockpot Vegetarian Lasagna project.  I broke them up, and while they weren’t as pretty as elbow pasta, they worked.

Even using low sodium broth, this soup was just a bit salty for my taste.  Of course, I could also blame that on the pepperoni!  But it was still a good bowl of warm soup, and will make lunches for the week.

 

 

 

Pepperoni Minestrone

1 T olive oil
1 c. chopped onion (fresh or frozen)
4 c. low sodium fat free beef broth
1 t thyme
3 whole wheat lasagna noodles, broken into small pieces
1 (16 oz.) package frozen zucchini
1 (12 oz.) package frozen peas, carrots, and green beans
1 (28 oz.) can plum tomatoes in juice, tomatoes coarsely chopped
2 oz. diced turkey pepperoni
1 (15 oz.) can white beans, rinsed and drained

Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add onion, and saute until tender and lightly brown.  Add broth and thyme and heat until boiling.  Add pasta pieces, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add vegetables, tomatoes with juice, pepperoni, and beans and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until vegetables are tender.  Serve garnished with freshly grated Parmesan.

Spinach, Tomatoes, and Stars

I featured plenty of sweet treats on the blog last week, so I thought we’d start off the new week with a simple, healthy recipe.  A dish with a lot of vegetables, but still warm and comforting.  Sometimes you just need a BIG pot of soup.

I was initially inspired by this Spinach, Tomato, and Orzo soup recipe.  But when I was strolling down the pasta aisle looking for orzo, I spotted these adorable little stars.  They aren’t whole grain, but I couldn’t resist.  I do think they make the soup a little more fun!

The soup is very thick, more like a stew, but the consistency makes it quite filling.  You can easily add another few cups of water or broth to thin it out if you like.  I added Parmesan cheese, and then swirled it in the soup with a spoon until it melted.  It was exactly the kind of recipe I needed, and I will be digging into this pot all week long.

 

 

Spinach, Tomato, and Stars

1 T olive oil
1 t minced garlic
2 onions, peeled and chopped
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes with basil
1 (16 oz.) package frozen spinach
4 c. vegetable broth
2 c. water
1 c. stelline, or other small pasta

Heat oil in a large pot.  Add garlic, and saute for 1 minute.  Add onions, and saute for 10-15 minutes, until soft and lightly brown.  Add tomatoes, spinach, broth, and water, and bring to a boil.  Add pasta, and simmer for 10-12 minutes, until tender.

Crockpot Lentil, Mushroom, and Wild Rice Soup

Although it seems like everyone in the Northeast is preparing for a hurricane, I am just trying to prepare myself for a hectic week.  I sincerely hope that everyone stays safe, and feel lucky to live pretty far inland.  I do have candles, matches, and a flashlight, and I guess if the power goes out I’ll be eating a lot of soup!

This soup was inspired by a Betty Crocker recipe I saw on Pinterest.  It’s thick, creamy, and packed with vegetables and plant based protein.  It reminds me of something you’d make with those condensed soups in the red and white cans, except this has all real ingredients and a lot less sodium.

The recipe requires just a little more work than my usual “throw everything in the crockpot and go to bed” routine.  You saute onion and celery prior to starting the crockpot, and add some additional ingredients towards the end.  But it’s still a lot easier to make this soup on Sunday than it is to stare into your fridge at 6am Monday morning, trying to figure out what you’re going to bring for lunch.  🙂

 

 

Crockpot Lentil, Mushroom, and Wild Rice Soup

1 T vegetable oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
4 stacks celery, chopped
1 c. lentils
1 (8 oz.) package of sliced mushrooms
1 c. long grain and wild rice
1 t thyme
1/4 t black pepper
6 c. vegetable broth
2 c. water
1 c. frozen peas and carrots
1 (12 oz.) can fat free evaporated milk
2 T flour

In a small frying pan, heat oil.  Add onions and celery, and saute for 15-20 minutes, until soft and lightly brown.   Place in crockpot, and add lentils, mushrooms, rice, spices, broth, and water.  Cook on Low for 6 hours.

Add peas and carrots.  If soup appears very thick, add 1-2 cups of water or broth.  Cook for additional hour.

Whisk milk and flour in a small bowl, and add to crockpot.  Cook for 30-60 minutes until soup is thickened and heated through.

-Inspired by Betty Crocker

Butternut Squash Chili

One of the things I love about Pinterest is finding new recipes.  It’s similar to reading a cooking magazine, except you click through the pin (the picture) for the recipe.  I keep track of the recipes I want to make on Pinterest here, in case you’re curious.  This Butternut Squash Chili came to me from Pinterest, courtesy of Gluten Free Goddess who posted the recipe, and the friend of mine who pinned it.

I’ve been wanting to make some kind of chili since the cold snap here in New England, and this one came out so well.  I modified the original recipe a bit, removing the peppers and chilies that I don’t like, and adding extra squash.  I used frozen butternut squash mostly for convenience; it would have been a lot more fun to hit up a farmer’s market for a locally grown squash, but that wasn’t in the cards this weekend.  The original recipe also indicates that this can be made in a crockpot, but I used the stove top directions because they fit my schedule.

The end result is a mild chili which is rich in flavor from all the vegetables.  Between the bright orange squash and the red tomatoes, the color is perfect for fall.  If you like your chili with more kick, add a jalapeno or some cayenne pepper.  The diced fresh avocado was a nice touch though, and I highly recommend it.  I have more than a few chili recipes on the blog, including White Bean Pumpkin Chili, Sweet Potato Chili, and Black Bean Chocolate Chili, but this one will now be in the rotation.

 

 

Butternut Squash Chili

1 T canola oil
2 t minced garlic
1 t cumin
1 t chili powder
1 t ginger
1 c. chopped onion
1 c. chopped celery
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes in juice
1 (20 oz.) bag frozen butternut squash
4 c. vegetable broth
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 T sugar
1 T balsamic vinegar

Heat oil in a large soup pot.  Add garlic, cumin, chili powder, and ginger and stir well for 1 minute.  Add onion and celery, and stir well to coat.  Saute for 10 minutes.  Add tomatoes, squash, broth, beans, sugar, and balsamic vinegar and bring to a boil. Simmer covered for 30 minutes.  Remove cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes more, until slightly thickened. Serve garnished with fresh avocado if desired.

-Adapted from Gluten Free Goddess

Chicken with Mole Sauce

It’s a wonderful thing when you can put cocoa powder and peanut butter in a recipe and still call it dinner!  To be fair, there’s only a hint of each in this Chicken with Mole Sauce from Eating Well, and the sweetness is offset by chili powder, cumin, and garlic.  This mole comes together very quickly but creates a thick, dark sauce which is great for serving with chicken thighs.

We had this for a family dinner served with Crockpot Rice and Beans and steamed green beans.  Everyone really liked the dish, and scooped up the mole sauce with a bit of bread.  I’ll be sure to make this one again soon.

 

Spaghetti Squash ‘Pizza’

After the success of my Spaghetti Squash Lasagna, I picked up another squash at the market.  But this time, I wanted to try to use it as a base for pizza.  There are a lot of low carb pizza recipes which use spaghetti squash, but they often contain over a cup of cheese in the crust alone.  I wasn’t looking for a low carb option and I prefer to save the cheese for the top of my pizza, so I used a combination of cornmeal, egg, and cheese.

Of course, this is different than a wheat based crust (hence the quotation marks), but the texture was actually very good.  Spaghetti squash tends to release a lot of water, but after the initial bake the crust was firm and even got crunchy at the edges.  Although I love a saucy pizza, I was careful not to add too much tomato sauce here because I wasn’t sure how much the crust could really hold.  I was pleasantly surprised that the sauce didn’t overwhelm the crust at all.

The taste was fairly plain, so next time I would add garlic powder and maybe Italian seasoning to the crust.  And of course, I might add some more exciting ingredients to the top of the pizza.  This is a very delicious way to pack your pizza with vegetables!  The picture below isn’t that pretty, so I think I need to make another pizza soon so I can update the post.

 

 

Spaghetti Squash ‘Pizza’

4 c. cooked spaghetti squash strands (average yield from 1 small squash)
2/3 c. cornmeal
1 c. mozzarella cheese, divided
2 eggs, beaten
1 c. tomato sauce
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese

In a large bowl, combine squash, cornmeal, 1/3 c. mozzarella cheese, and eggs.  Mix well.  Spread onto a greased cookie sheet, and press mixture towards edges until crust is about 1/2″ thick.   Bake at 400F for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Remove from oven.  Spread tomato sauce on cooked crust, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.  Bake for 10-12 minutes more, until cheese is melted.

 

Crockpot Lentils and Mushrooms

I was a bit under the weather this week with a cold, and didn’t have a lot of energy.  Crockpot to the rescue, again!  This is a very simple recipe, but I love the combination of lentils, mushrooms, and tomatoes.

If you want to make this more of a soup or stew, I would suggest you double the vegetable broth.  I liked the thick consistency, and served it over brown rice.  It was just the kind of warm and comforting meal you want when you’re not feeling well.  And I had so much energy after eating it that I decided to bake!  So come back Monday for some fall inspired cookies.

 

 

 

Crockpot Lentils and Mushrooms

1 c. lentils
1 (8 oz.) package sliced mushrooms
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 c. chopped onion
1 t minced garlic
2 c. vegetable broth

Mix all ingredients in a crockpot.  Cook on Low for 8-10 hours.  Serve over brown rice.